Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Year, A New PBRC

The change in the calendar brought some changes at Pit Bull Rescue Central. Holly Bukes and Dawn Carroll have ended their terms as President and Vice President, respectively. Holly will remain on the PBRC team, while Dawn, one of the organization’s earliest members, will be moving on to new adventures.

The new Executive Committee is looking forward to 2011 as year of exciting ideas, energetic leadership and a renewed commitment to propelling the organization forward to help more dogs than ever.

Here’s a preview of a few projects PBRC is working on in the New Year:

  • Creating a PBRC Task Force to assist with large scale rescue operations.
  • Even more great blog content and building our community through social media (Find us on Facebook and Twitter).
  • Great new pit-friendly products and an even bigger and better PoppyMart.
  • Enhanced resources for rescuers, owners and advocates.
  • Recruiting to expand our volunteer base. (Interested in becoming a PBRC Volunteer? Click here to apply.)

Meet the New Officers

We are pleased to introduce PBRC’s new Executive Committee, whose long histories with PBRC, general animal welfare backgrounds and diverse skill sets not only make them excellent candidates for these positions, but also make for a dynamic leadership team:

  • President: Stephanie Feldstein
  • Co-Executive Director: Chris Cook
  • Co-Executive Director: Tiffany McBee
  • Vice President: Amiela Ciontos
  • Continuing as Treasurer: Alexis Kelly
  • Secretary: Jessica Roubitchek

Please take a minute to get to know each one of our team by reading the biographies below.

All of the nominated candidates for the officer positions were passionate volunteers, dedicated to a positive future for pit bulls. They each also had impressive backgrounds, making the choice difficult (and also making us realize how lucky we are to have such a talented team at PBRC).

With Sincere Appreciation

The executive committee would also like to express their appreciation to Holly Bukes, PBRC President from 2003-2010, and to Dawn Carroll, PBRC Vice President 2001-2010. As part of the previous leadership team, they have assisted in developing PBRC from an organization with a single volunteer and zero dollars to the successful organization it is today. Their years of dedication will have a positive impact on Pit Bulls and their people for years to come. Thank you both for your inspiration!


Stephanie Feldstein – President: Stephanie is the editor for the Animals cause at Previously, she worked in the non-profit field, most recently as the Development Director of the Ecology Center, an environmental advocacy organization. She served as Vice President on the Board of Directors of Earth Share of Michigan and as Secretary on the Board of Pit Bull Rescue Central. She has been part of the animal welfare and pit bull rescue community for over 10 years, as an animal shelter employee, foster home, dog trainer, behavior helpline responder, outreach/events volunteer, and rescue consultant. She also writes novels exploring animal welfare issues and the human-animal bond.

On a personal note: Stephanie lives in Michigan with a rescued menagerie of two Shepherd mixes, three Pit Bulls and two cats.

Chris Cook – Co-Executive Director: Chris has worked in the veterinary field as a Registered Veterinary Technician for almost 25 years. During that time she has worked in general practice, specialty practice, practice management and diagnostic laboratories. Chris fell in love with Pit Bulls during her early years of veterinary technician education/work and for many years operated a personal rescue effort that assisted many needy dogs and owners. Having been a volunteer with PBRC since 1999, her work has included creation and start up of the Volunteer Committee and she has served on the Adoption Application Team, Medical Fund Committee, Donor Relations Team and on the BOD as Co Chair of Volunteer Committee and PBRC Secretary.

On a personal note: Chris currently lives in Chandler, AZ with her husband Todd, rescued Staffordshire Bull Terrier Angus and assorted fish, birds, and houseplants. She enjoys photographing her dogs and has been the proud recipient of both local and national awards and calendar features.

Tiffany McBee – Co-Executive Director: Tiffany has been a PBRC volunteer since 2002, her work has included serving as the Treasurer, Chair of the Fund Committee, member of the Fundraising committee, Cafepress team and now processing adoption applications and co-chairing the newly formed PBRC Task Force committee. Tiffany is the founder of Broken Hearts, Mended Souls, a 501c3 mid-Missouri Pit Bull rescue group that features a free to low cost spay/neuter program for the residents of mid-Missouri. Most recently, she served as the President and Vice President from 2004 to 2008 for the Central Missouri Humane Society. During her tenure, the animal shelter overcame three years of deficit spending and won the national shelter makeover contest valued at up to one million dollars.

On a personal note: Tiffany resides in Missouri with her husband Steve. They have two human children, Dalton and Austin, and five furry ones: Three Pit Bulls, one Cane Corso and a naughty little feline named Sugar.

Amiela Ciontos - Vice President: Ami has been involved in pit bull rescue and advocacy for the past 13 years, and has spent the last 8 years as a volunteer for Pit Bull Rescue Central. She has served on the PBRC Board of Directors as the chairperson of the Spay/Neuter Committee and was also the co-chair of the Fundraising Committee. Currently Ami serves on the PBRC Grant Committee and is the founder of the Atlanta Bully Rally, an annual event to celebrate National Pit Bull Awareness Day. She is also the founder and president of Atlanta Underdog Initiative, a pit bull and mastiff rescue group and a founding partner of Tails in the ‘Hood, an outreach program to educate pit bull owners on responsible dog ownership.

On a personal note: Ami shares her home with husband, David, and three Pit Bulls and one Pit Bull/Boxer mix. Ami and her family almost always have two or more Pit Bulls or Mastiffs in their care through foster care.

Jessica Roubitchek – Secretary: Jessica is currently the Director of Alumnae Relations and Individual Giving for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, a council comprised of over 95,000 girls and 24,000 volunteers. She is responsible for identifying and cultivating major donors, and building an alumnae association with meaningful engagement opportunities. Jessica has been involved with the finance committee and PBRC's annual PoppyMart auction since 2009.

On a personal note: Jessica resides in Illinois with her husband and daughter. Because of PBRC and Pitbull-L, Jessica went from reluctant and uninformed Pit Bull owner in 2006 to the confident handler and breed advocate that she is today.

Alexis Kelly- Treasurer: Lex has has been involved in animal rescue for over 20 years and pit bull advocacy and rescue for the past seven years. She is the co-founder of Bmore Dog, a pit bull advocacy organization located in Baltimore, Maryland and has been a PBRC volunteer since 2006 and Treasurer since 2007. She is an accountant by trade, working in the commercial real estate development and finance industry since 1993.

On a personal note: Lex shares her home with three rescued pit bulls and several rescued kitties.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tails in the 'Hood (continued)

November 23, 2010

You are only as good as your word. Ami and I promised to help these people we met on our Tails in the Hood adventure on Sunday, and we live up to our promises. Ami and her husband, David, have arranged to take Lady, Kevin's pit in for her spay tomorrow and Jermaine's two females in to get fixed on Monday. I had an interesting day. I met with my two new pit bull loving friends GK and Pick. These two young men are friends and are affiliated with rival gangs.

We grabbed a burger over at McDonalds and headed over to Dekalb County Animal Control. GK and Pick agreed to come there with me to see all the pit bulls that die each day before they start their breeding kennel. Byron of B Good Behavior Modification met us there. Byron is a great dog trainer that used to breed pit bulls, but now he has seen the severe overpopulation problem. We spent about 3.5 hrs there. I shot some video of our trip to the pound. I think my new friends have seen the light. I think they got more than an education. We are going to help them vaccinate their dogs and Byron is going to give them a few training tips. GK and Pick even agreed to come out and help us on our next Tails in the ‘Hood mission.

I have a feeling GK and Pick are going to be doing some good with us. They do need to find some local work in the Decatur area. If anyone has anything for them, please contact me. Thanks to the staff at Dekalb AC for letting us spend so much time there today. Here are some videos. Keep in mind most of these dogs will be dead by Friday.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pet Points: Hefty pets need resolutions on diet and exercise, too

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Here we are, the beginning of the New Year. Many of us are joining the gym, returning to yoga class and cutting back the calories after the gluttony of the holiday season.

We are not the only ones who have gained some weight over the holidays -- our pets have most likely overindulged, too. Pet owners tend to spoil their pets over the holidays by allowing more table scraps and by purchasing gifts for them, often in the form of treats.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, nearly 50 percent of the nation's cats and dogs are overweight, driven by the same factors that cause their human counterparts to put on weight. To prevent pets from developing obesity-related diseases, experts recommend maintaining pets' healthy weight during the holidays by providing them with regular exercise and proper diet, among other measures.

I believe the percentage of obesity is much higher. Many times a day, as a practicing veterinarian, I have to tell owners that their pet is morbidly overweight but otherwise healthy. It is very common for a Labrador or a golden retriever to be more than 20 pounds overweight, or a cat to weigh 18 instead of 10 pounds.

Obese dogs are at increased risk for having excruciating pain from arthritis/degenerative joint disease, which can lead owners to euthanize their beloved pets earlier than they otherwise would because the animals can no longer walk. They are also more predisposed to tearing their cranial cruciate ligament in their knee, or stifle joint. This injury can cause much pain and lameness and sometimes requires expensive surgery.

Also, pets, much like humans, can have difficulty breathing with all the extra weight, especially the "pushed-in-face" breeds, such as pugs, Boston terriers and English bulldogs.

Overweight cats are at huge risk for developing diabetes mellitus, which requires treatment with insulin injections and dietary modification. This can be costly and inconvenient for an owner.

Here are some "Pet Points" that will help you to know if your pet is getting a little pudgy, and ways to help Fluffy or Fido shed some of the extra holiday cheer:

  • You should always be able to feel your pet's ribs without pushing too hard. If you can see the ribs, your pet may be slightly too thin.
  • When you stand above your pet, you should be able to see a "waist" behind the ribs, with a "cinched" appearance, as if it is wearing a belt.
  • Your pet should have a "tucked-up" appearance when you look underneath it. The abdomen should follow the contour of the ribs as it extends back toward the hip.
  • Always use a measuring cup to determine the amount you are feeding your pet in a day. The recommendations on the back of the pet food bag are based on active dogs and do not take in to account the amount of treats and "people food" that pets receive. I always tell people to use the recommended serving size for the weight a pet should be, not what they actually weigh. Also, cut down by about 20 percent of what the bag says if your pet gets extra goodies or doesn't get much exercise.
  • Try canned food. It has a larger protein to carbohydrate ratio and helps a pet to feel full faster. Think about eating soup to feel full. The larger water content keeps the appetite at bay.
  • Cut out the "people food"! A medium-sized dog needs only about 380 calories a day. Even a pizza crust can increase calorie intake by 20 percent. Try using pieces of dog food as treats.
  • Dog treats can have many calories. Rawhides, although they keep a dog's teeth beautiful, contain about 200 calories an inch. They can cause gastrointestinal issues as well, so it is best to avoid them.
  • Make exercise time for both of you. Joining a gym is helpful to you, but you might not feel like taking your dog for a long walk after a two-hour workout. A long dog walk is great exercise.

So ... while making your New Year's resolutions, take a good look at your pets. Perhaps they, too, could benefit from a diet and exercise plan for healthy living.

Dr. Schroth is a veterinarian at the Point Breeze Veterinary Clinic. Pet Points appears biweekly in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The intent of this column is to educate pet owners. Consultation with a veterinarian is necessary to diagnose and treat individual pets. If you have a question you'd like addressed in Pet Points, e-mail Please include your name and municipality or neighborhood.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Richmond, VA - Free Spay or Neuter for College Students' Pets

Free Spay or Neuter for College Students' Pets

3421 W. Cary Street
Richmond, Virginia 23221
(804) 359-meow (6369)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Operation Pit-STOP Overpopulation - North Carolina

The Humane Society of Charlotte
2700 Toomey Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28203

February 1, 2011

We are excited to announce our first pit bull spay/neuter promotion called Operation Pit-STOP Overpopulation that the Humane Society of Charlotte is conducting in conjunction with Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control, the SPCA Alliance and the American Pit Bull Foundation. Our goal is to spay & neuter over 100 pit bulls that would otherwise go unaltered. We are conducting this campaign in honor of Spay Day, a national annual campaign of The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, to inspire people to save animal’s lives by spaying or neutering pets and feral cats.

Throughout the month of February, we will be setting appointments for pit bulls to be altered on a first come, first served basis. Each surgery costs the Humane Society of Charlotte an average of $65. We are collecting funds to help us reach our goal to sterilize at least 100 dogs. If you are interested in donating to the project, please contact Donna Canzano at 704-494-7704. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please contact Clinic Manager Tammy Cornell at 704-377-0534, ext. 233 or via email at

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tails in the 'Hood

Tails in the 'Hood began as a collaborative effort between two Atlanta area pit bull rescue groups, Atlanta Underdog Initiative and Friends to the Forlorn. They initially approached the owners and offered free dog food and vaccines. They formed a relationship with the owners before approaching them about spaying and neutering their dogs.

November 21, 2010

What a great weekend!! I headed out to meet Ami from Atlanta Underdog Initiative, her friend Drew and our new friend Tracy Bishop, who is a contributor to The Stubby Dog project. Tracy wanted to see what Tails in the ‘Hood is all about. I got to Ami's and we all jumped in the truck. A few days ago, while Ami was on the way to work, she came across a man walking a beautiful pit bull. Ami rolled down the window to her car and complimented the man on having a beautiful pit. The man said she needed a home. Ami had to go to work, so she called her husband David and had David go speak to the man. It turns out the man has six dogs and needs some help as he is in between jobs. We went over and spoke with him today. The man's name is Jermaine. We provided him with some great food and we are scheduling appointments to get some of his dogs fixed. It was a great day, but wait, it gets better.

While we were talking with Jermaine, he mentioned that there is a female pit roaming the block with 5 or six puppies in tow. He says the dog comes and knocks over his garbage looking for food. Jermaine described where the dog lived. Of course Ami knew who the owner was, good old Earl and his pit bulls. Every heat and there's a litter! Ami has been helping Earl by providing him with food for his pits for a while now, but she could never get him to fix his dogs. We decided to take a ride to go visit Earl and brought him some dog food. He was very appreciative. Ami asked him if he’s ready to get his dog fixed yet and he said he is as soon as the pups are old enough and Momma dog dries out. We are taking her in to get spayed in a few weeks. Wait, it gets better!

Remember the last video from Tails in the ‘Hood? We brought a crate and dog food to Kevin who attended the Atlanta Bully Education Rally. He had the pregnant blue pup in the yard. We decided to go check up on him and the pups. Kevin wasn’t home, but his mom was. We were just in time, as they were running out of dog food, so we left a few bags of food with her.

Kevin was up at the store with his dog, Lady. His mom told us that she hadn’t had the pups yet. His big male, Rocky, broke off his lead and ran away and they have not found him yet. As we drove away, we spotted Kevin walking Lady. We stopped the truck and got out to see them. Lady either wasn’t pregnant, or she lost the pups, because it has been to long for her not to have given birth. What a blessing! We pulled over to talk with Kevin. Guess what? We are scheduling an appointment for Lady to get fixed this week. Can you feel me? Can the day get better than that? I was so happy, I gave Kevin a Friends to The Forlorn Pitbull Rescue T shirt for free. That’s a big deal, because my mother bought hers! I don’t give these to just anyone. We are going to get Kevin and Lady some more food and teach him how to take care of her the right way.

Now we were on a roll. We went after Fletcher, Kevin's friend who is about 14 and a hustler. He breeds his pit bulls every chance he gets. We drove up to his house but he wasn’t home. We dropped off some food with his grandfather. As we were backing out of the parking spot I noticed Fletcher by the neighbor’s house across the street. Ami called out to him and he vanished. He knew why we were there. Fletcher, we are coming for you, buddy. You can run, but you can’t hide forever.