Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to Plan a Pit Bull Awareness Day Event

So, you want to show the public that pit bulls are good dogs. Well, you’re in luck! The National Pit Bull Awareness Campaign is a nationwide effort to bring positive recognition and attention to the American Pit Bull Terrier. The heart of the campaign is National Pit Bull Awareness Day (NPBAD), which was founded in 2007 by Jodi Preis of Bless the Bullys.

NPBAD is an excellent opportunity to be a positive role model for responsible dog ownership, and to introduce the truth about pit bulls in the communities where we live with our dogs. Since the beginning, NPBAD has been extremely successful thanks to the pit bull advocates across the nation who are determined and dedicated to making a positive difference for pit bulls.

If you’re part of a rescue group, breed club, animal shelter or other dog-related organization, you may have some event planning experience. Even if you aren’t part of a formal group, you can still host a NPBAD event! The first step is to pick a date. Ideally you would host the event on the actual NPBAD; in 2012 it will be on Saturday, October 27, but if that’s not possible that’s ok, too. No matter which date you pick, be sure to allow enough time to advertise and spread the word about your event! You want to make sure people know about it and plan to attend!

There are lots of possibilities for events. For example, if you’re not part of a formal group, ask your local pet store if you can set up a table with information about pit bulls. PBRC has educational materials available for download and distribution at this link: http://www.pbrc.net/flyers.html Take your own breed ambassador pit bull with you! (If you aren’t sure if your dog is considered a breed ambassador, read the information at this link: http://www.pbrc.net/breedambassador.html.) Be sure to bring along the “Find the Pit Bull” flyer. It’s a great conversation starter and a perfect way to show one of the major problems with breed-specific legislation (BSL): identifying which dogs are pit bulls.

Here are some other ideas for events:

Bully Rally

Pit Bull Adoption or Spay/Neuter Event

Pit Bull Parade

Weight Pull

Dog Wash Event (which can double as a fund raiser for a local pit bull rescue)

Canine Costume Contest (since it’s so close to Howl-O-Ween!)

Kiss-a-Bull kissing booth

Canine Good Citizen Testing

                         Lenox, a 10 yr old pit bull mix working a kissing booth

These are all great ideas, but you will likely need funds. You may need funds to secure permits for a park in which to host your event, or you may need to rent a venue. You may also need funds to print fliers or take out an ad to publicize your event. Consider approaching local pet stores, veterinarian offices, dog trainers, groomers and pet food companies to see if they would like to get involved by offering funds (or products for a raffle or silent auction) in exchange for having their company name listed on the promotional materials for the event.

Atlanta Underdog Initiative, located in Atlanta, GA, has been celebrating NPBAD since 2007 by hosting the Atlanta Bully Rally. The very first event consisted of about 30 people in a small Atlanta park. Since then, it has grown into a large and much-anticipated NPBAD event, featuring special celebrity guests, an amateur weight pull, educational presentations on topics that affect pit bulls and their owners, a pit bull kissing booth, the opportunity to showcase local rescue groups and their adoptable animals, a raffle with fantastic prizes, and free dog food and collars to pets in need. In order to plan your own Bully Rally, Atlanta Underdog Initiative offers the following tips:

-Secure a venue! A public park is usually a great choice!

-Invite other pit bull specific rescues as well as local animal control to bring 1-2 dogs each so people can see the types of pit bulls that end up in rescue and in the shelters. By including other organizations, you also increase your attendance because they tell their supporters.

-Recruit people to speak on various topics such as spay/neuter, unchaining, training, and BSL. Try to find people who can connect with your target audience.

-Give out free dog food, collars and leashes. More dog owners are likely to come if the flyer says “Free Pet Food”. Post flyers all over the neighborhoods where your target audience lives.

-For the sake of safety, consider offering a “waiting area” of crates where dogs can be crated while their owners walk around and talk to people and look at the rescue dogs. It allows people to bring dogs with controllable dog-reactivity to the event so that they get the educational info but still provides a way to keep those dogs contained if they get over stimulated. Also have “dog security” volunteers who keep an eye on the dogs’ behavior and the owners to make sure everything is running smoothly.

Atlanta Underdog Initiative hosts a LugNuts weight pull at the Bully Rally. This has proven to be very popular. They offer cash prizes for 1st ($50), 2nd ($35) and 3rd place ($20). The prize amount doubles if the dog is already spayed or neutered or if the owners allow the organization to spay or neuter the dog within 2 weeks. On the sign-up form is a field where owners of the winning dog can opt to forfeit the prize so that the funds can be put back toward rescue or spay/neuter. For info on Lugnuts visit this link: http://www.suesternberg.com//03programs/04lugnuts.html

                  LugNuts weight pull contestant at the 2011 Atlanta Bully Rally

For further information on how to plan a Bully Rally, contact Atlanta Underdog Initiative. Contact information is available on the group’s website at www.atlantaunderdog.com. The Atlanta Bully Rally website is www.atlantabullrally.com.

Regardless of your location, please choose an activity to participate in on October 27, 2012, to promote and celebrate responsible pit bull ownership with other caring individuals. Visit the Bless the Bullys website (www.blessthebullys.com) to find NPBAD events in your area or to register your own.

Let’s make our voices heard across the nation on October 27, 2012!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Attention Pit Bull Lovers: One Day Left to Bid on Great Stuff for a Great Cause!

PBRC's 9th Annual PoppyMart Online Auction is down to the wire. There's a little over 24 hours left to bid!

With nearly 700 items, there's something for everyone -- Spoil your dog, spoil yourself, get a jump on holiday shopping ... and it's all for a good cause. All PoppyMart proceeds benefit PBRC's programs to provide accurate breed information, support spay/neuter, and help rescued pit bulls in need.

The auction ends tomorrow evening (September 15th). The last day is always when the bidding wars get hot, so now is the time to get in on a little friendly competition with other pit bull lovers.

Start Bidding Now!

Have questions? Check out our Auction Guidelines page.
(Still have questions? Email us at fundraising@pbrc.net.)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Four Days Until Poppymart 2012 and PBRC's Annual Report!

Poppymart is Four Days Away!

It's that time of year again…PBRC's online auction is coming soon! Starting September 9th, we'll be listing hundreds of amazing items to raise money for Pit Bull Rescue Central (PBRC).

There is something for every taste and wallet! You'll find toys, treats and accessories for your dog as well as toys, treats and accessories for you! There is also original artwork, custom products and more! Thanks to the generosity of many vendors, volunteers and friends, there's something for everyone, so get your ebay account ready! The photos represent just a few of the fantastic items we have; let the bidding wars begin!

All proceeds from Poppy Mart benefit Pit Bull Rescue Central's important work, including financial aid to help rescuers and owners with medical procedures they could not otherwise afford, spay/neuter assistance, dog listings and adoption application pre-screening for dogs in need of good homes and educational resources for all ages.

PBRC is staffed entirely by a dedicated group of volunteers who donate their time and energy to promote responsible pit bull ownership and restore the positive image of pit bulls. 

Register now so you're ready to bid early and often. All bidders need to register with ebay, so if you don’t already have an account get one at www.ebay.com. You will be sent a link directly to our store once the auction begins.

If you have any questions, please contact us at fundraising@pbrc.net

The Poppy Mart Team

P.S. Feel free to crosspost this message!

                 Annual Report for 2011

Our 2011 annual report is now available! PBRC Annual Report 2011 Take a look at what we've been able to accomplish in 2011 with the help of our amazing volunteers as well as the generosity of our donors. We could not do this important work without our donors, so a hearty thanks to them as well as to our volunteers!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Need Pit Bull Love On-the-Go? Bring Home Your Own Plush Therpit from CharlieDog

Ever need a little pit bull pick-me-up but don’t have a pit bull handy?

Now you can have your very own huggable therapist you can take anywhere! http://www.charliedogandfriends.com/

Murphy is an 8-year-old pit bull that was adopted through PBRC from Seattle Animal Shelter in Seattle, Washington. He was certified for pet assisted therapy when he was just 18 months old and has been bringing love and kisses to needy patients and students ever since.

Murphy has so much love to give that he never tires of his job, but there is just so much of him to go around and too little time to give everyone the therapy that they need.

Murphy and I were honored when CharlieDog and Friends asked permission to use Murphy as the model for their first Thera-pit in their new line of soft toys. Now Murphy’s special form of therapy is available to anyone, anytime!

CharlieDog and Friends is built on a business model of giving. Your purchase of a Murphy CharlieDog toy will not only bring you the therapy you are craving, but $5 of each purchase is donated to Pit Bull Rescue Central to help many other homeless pit bulls find loving forever homes. Plus for each Murphy toy that is sold, CharlieDog and Friends will donate a Murphy toy to a child in a hospital that needs their own special friend to cuddle with during a very scary time.

-- Amanda C., PBRC Volunteer, and Murphy, Rescued Therapit

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Pit Bull Rescue Central Receives ASPCA Grant to Help More Dogs

Here at PBRC, we've always been fans of the work the ASPCA does to promote a positive image for pit bulls and help them find loving homes. In addition to their high-profile work saving pit bulls from abuse, they also provide great information and expose the truth about important issues like breed specific legislation and media bias.

So, we were especially excited to learn than an anonymous ASPCA employee chose PBRC as the recipient of an ASPCA Staffers' Choice Grant. The ASPCA Staffers' Choice Grant was established last year as a way for ASPCA employees who are being recognized for their achievements to give back to the rescue community. Thank you, Anonymous!

Earlier this summer, PBRC was awarded the $500 grant. What does $500 mean to PBRC? It means we can help even more pit bulls in need.

In the month of June, the grant helped five pit bulls get spayed or neutered as part of our Spay/Neuter Fund, which provides financial assistance to owners and rescuers doing their part to fight overpopulation.

PBRC also provides financial aid to owners and rescuers facing veterinary hardships. Last month, the ASPCA grant helped the PBRC Medical Fund contribute toward a cart for a New Jersey dog in need, providing the family that loves her a way to keep giving her a good life.

The work being done every day by the volunteers of PBRC to make the world a better place for pit bulls couldn't happen without the support of people like the ASPCA employees who care about the future of these dogs.

To learn more about the ASPCA: http://www.aspca.org/
To learn more about PBRC: http://www.pbrc.net/

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Like a Boss!

This is the first in a series of posts we'll be doing highlighting the dogs whose images appear on PBRC's Visa Platinum Rewards cards. To apply for a card, visit this link. A percent of all your purchases will be donated back to PBRC!

Like a Boss!
By Ami Ciontos

So he wasn’t an old dog when I adopted him in 2002, but my boy Boss has aged gracefully. I’ll admit he was quite the handful in his younger days. He destroyed no less than seven crates, a handful of rugs (while in his crate!), a few sets of drapes and the occasional bed spread. Not to mention the times he thought he was being attacked by the automatic sprinkler systems at some local businesses and had to defend himself. Each time he managed to pull at least three to four feet of piping out of the ground before I could stop him.

Due to his high energy level, we had to find an energy outlet for Boss. We ultimately discovered his intense love for bubbles, which he will jump for and chase. Boss also loves to play with traffic cones. He bumps them, drags them around the yard and, at one time, would even climb a tree to get to a traffic cone dangling from a branch by a rope. Now that he’s in the winter of his years, he isn’t able to climb as well, so my husband will hold him up so he can get to his cone. Once he’s up there he will pull on it and tug until he is tired.

Though he’s 12 years old, my boy still has some spunk! He loves to go for walks and still chases squirrels. Most of his days are spent lounging on his favorite bed in the hallway. He is a gracious host and welcomes all of our visitors with a friendly nudge to let them know they should pet him. He used to meet visitors with a toy in his mouth ready to play, but now he’s content for a pat on the head and a few belly rubs. Boss is a sweet, loving boy who has taught me so much about pit bulls. Though he was not an easy dog in his younger years, I would not have had it any other way. He is now a Senior Pitizen, and the older he gets, the sweeter he gets. If I had known how sweet, appreciative and low maintenance senior dogs can be, I might have adopted an older dog a long time ago!

When it comes to adopting a dog, many people automatically think of adopting a puppy. Though puppies are cute and sweet and they get a lot of attention, they also require patience and energy to help them become wonderful family members and companions. The advantage of adopting an older dog is that they can be just as cute and lovable as a puppy, and they already have their personality and training. Most are already housebroken and have overcome the phase where chewing on inappropriate objects is irresistible. There is no guessing what your dog will become, as what you see is what you get when you adopt an older dog!

You may not want to adopt a senior dog because you fear that your time with your new best friend will be too short and too painful when the dog passes. However; the privilege of bonding with and loving a senior dog makes every day special! The knowledge that you have given an older dog a second chance at life will help create a strong and deep bond, and the love that grows from this knowledge is stronger than the pain of eventual separation.

Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pitizen
  • Senior pitizens are generally low maintenance. They love to sleep and cuddle the day away. They enjoy a brisk daily walk, but the best part of the day is their nap, and they love for you to join them at nap time!

  • Senior pitizens have already learned many of life's lessons. They know, for example, that shoes are for walking and bones are for chewing. They also know that outside is for doing business and indoors is for relaxing! Your carpet will last longer with a senior pitizen compared with a puppy!

  • Senior pitizens can learn new tricks and be valuable family and community members. Because they have mellowed, they can focus on you and learn more quickly than a puppy.

  •  Senior pitizens leave you time for yourself because they don’t require the same kind of time and attention that puppies and young dogs do.

If you are looking into adopting a dog, consider a senior pitizen! Not only will you be saving a dog, you will gain a dedicated companion!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Keep your dogs safe this boating season!

People in Chicago who were following the story of Tank recently breathed a sigh of relief when this 5-year-old Pomeranian—lost after falling off his owners’ boat into the Chicago River—was found alive and playing with other dogs on the city’s northwest side. Although this story’s happy outcome is worth celebrating, it could have just as easily turned tragic, and it underscores an essential dog-safety issue in the summer season: boat safety for dogs.

Tank’s survival is partially credited to the fact that his owners had the common sense to put a life vest on him before taking their boat on its river route. Although many dogs can swim, they are just as prone as humans to panic in a high current or to become tired before reaching shore.

But even with the life vest that allowed Tank to safely reach shore, his owners are still very lucky to have found him, as they had taken off his identification tags to put on the life vest. Dogs outside of the home should always wear identification tags. If a collar cannot be comfortably worn with a life vest, it is advisable to find some other way to attach identification to the animal, for example, by attaching a waterproof carabiner holding the ID tags to the life vest.

Read this article for additional information on keeping dogs safe on the water. Here’s to a safe boating season!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Maryland court ruling update

There’s some hope on the horizon for those who are concerned about the impact a recent court ruling declaring all pit bulls inherently dangerous could have on Maryland landlords and pit bull owners.

Maryland lawmakers have announced their intention to create a 10-member task force to study the court decision and make recommendations to the General Assembly on potential legislation to address the ruling.

Also, the Baltimore Sun has reported that an attorney representing the Towson landlord named in the Tracey v. Solesky case, which spurred the court ruling, has filed a motion forreconsideration, asking the court to re-examine the evidence that led to the decision. 

"Untold numbers of dog owners in Maryland are now being told to abandon their pets or leave their homes," the motion says. "They have been given no hearing, no notice, no opportunity to participate in a democratic forum ... The separation of powers exists for a reason."

The Washington Post recently ran a story on some Maryland advocates’ efforts to raise awareness about the fact that their pit bulls are part of their families and make great pets. Maryland advocacy group B-More Dog’s Pit Bulls on Parade, which takes place monthly in Baltimore, was the centerpiece of the story. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

How can the Maryland court ruling on pit bulls be changed?

Ever since the Maryland Court of Appeals issued its controversial ruling declaring pit bulls inherently dangerous, we’ve heard a lot of questions from people about what they can do to help reverse or change the court’s decision. Here’s some information we obtained from a Maryland resident familiar with the legislative and judiciary process that you might find informative as you try to figure out how to respond.

The Maryland Court of Appeals is the highest court in Maryland. In order to take this decision to the next level, which would be the U.S. Supreme Court, one of the parties involved must file what’s called a Petition for Writ of Certiorari (cert petition), which is a request for the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from a lower court. The Supreme Court will decide whether to grant the cert based on their findings of how the lower court’s decision affects the parties’ federal constitutional rights.

The parties involved have a limited period of time to file a cert petition. In this case the likely person would be the defendant’s lawyer.  It doesn’t matter if the defendant herself wants to do this or not.  The lawyer is a party to the appeals court decision and can file. Supreme Court cert petitions are often well-orchestrated endeavors by many individuals or groups that have a stake in overturning the appellate court’s decision.

Alternately, a special “motion for reconsideration” can also be filed to request that the court review the facts of the case again. The motion to reconsider places before the chamber a question that has been previously decided. There is a group currently working on filing the motion for reconsideration.

Another way to change the common law is by statute, or the introduction of a bill through the legislature (Maryland General Assembly).

The Maryland legislature has the ability to change Maryland common law. This is done through the political process by lobbying your legislative representative.  Because it’s a political process you have to sell it to your representative and persuade them why it’s the wrong decision, not just for their constituents but for all Maryland residents as well as many Maryland businesses (insurance companies, dog training facilities, veterinarians, dog walkers, etc.)

If you can get your representative to introduce a bill, then the process can begin to enact new legislation that effectively nullifies this new common law. And, of course, that’s where all of us come in, by being able to participate in this process (unlike the judicial process, which cannot by changed by lobbying).

The Humane Society of the United States is making it easier for Maryland residents to contact their representatives. They have a simple how-to form on their website explaining how to contact your representatives and what you can say to them here.

For specific talking points in regards to Tracey v. Solesky the best place to start is by reading the dissenting opinion written by Justice Clayton Greene Jr., which gives a point-by-point detailing of the problems with the majority opinion.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Help PBRC while you shop!

If you love Pit Bull Rescue Central, you can support us while you shop! The Pit Bull Rescue Central Visa Platinum Rewards Card is available now, and you can apply for yours at this link. For every approved card that’s used within 90 days of activation, the bank donates $50 to PBRC. After that, a percentage from each purchase will be donated to PBRC. Better yet, every time you hand over your card to a cashier, you’re providing good breed PR because you get to customize your card with one of five adorable, pit-positive images. For more details on the card, click here.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Maryland court's ruling on pit bulls

Last week, Pit Bull Rescue Central was as shocked as many others in the pit bull community when we learned that the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a ruling (link to pdf) that changed the state’s common law in such a way that could have seriously detrimental impacts for pit bull owners.

“When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous,” the ruling reads. It goes even further to state that if a landlord has a tenant who owns a pit bull and “has reason to know that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull, that person is liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner’s or lessor’s premises.”

This means that pit bulls living in Maryland no longer have the benefit of the doubt – while other dogs in the state have to be proven to be aggressive if they bite a person, pit bulls are automatically assumed to be aggressive just because they are pit bulls.

This creates an unfair two-tier system upon which dogs that bite will be judged – regardless of the nature of the bite. If the dog is a pit bull, the dog will automatically be assumed to be dangerous. If the dog is of any other breed, no matter how badly the dog has bitten someone, it will not be held to the same standard.  

Pit Bull Rescue Central believes this misguided ruling could have serious consequences for families across the state. By focusing attention on the way dogs look, instead of holding dogs of any breed accountable for their behavior, the Maryland Court is establishing a precedent of prejudice and ineffective policy that puts both people and animals at risk. PBRC hopes that Maryland legislators and landlords will work quickly toward a more humane resolution to the issue of liability. 

At the moment, it is unclear what recourse pit bull owners in Maryland have to fight this ruling, but we are assured by many pit bull advocates and legal experts that efforts are under way to research this situation and look for ways to challenge it.   

In the meantime, we urge all pit bull owners in Maryland not to panic. Whenever laws or rulings like this pass, some people rush to shelters to surrender their dogs because they think they have no other choice. But there is no reason to do so. Your dog relies on your for everything, and he or she is no more dangerous now than before this ruling was passed. This ruling does not ban pit bulls or force pit bull owners to take any special measures to keep their dogs.  

Here’s some additional information for Maryland pit bull owners:


If you live in a rental home and you have a lease, and your lease permits you to have a pit bull, your landlord should honor that lease as long as you are otherwise not in violation of the lease terms. If your landlord does try to terminate your lease or tell you that you have to give up your dog, we recommend that you review Maryland landlord/tenant law at this link and consider consulting a lawyer before giving up your apartment or rental home. If you do need to find a new place to live, check out the resources at PBRC.net


If you have a tenant who owns a pit bull that has not caused problems, this court ruling does not mean that the dog living in your rental property is suddenly any more dangerous than it was the day before the ruling was issued. Review the best practices of responsible ownership with your tenants and make sure your tenants understand to never leave their dogs unattended outdoors or to let them roam at large; it is recommended that you add a rider to the lease that requires your tenants’ dogs be spayed or neutered. We urge you to share the educational materials on our site with your tenants. 


If you are a homeowner, we urge you to research pit bull friendly insurance options. The ruling may not have an impact on your homeowners insurance, but in case it does, PBRC has a list of pit bull-friendly insurance companies on our website, which you can find at this link


Pit bull owners in Maryland should contact their state and local representatives to respectfully express their concern about this court ruling. If you aren’t sure who your local representative is, you can search on the Maryland General Assembly website to find your senators and house representatives. Remember that it's very important to be concise, polite and clear in your communications. If you need help drafting a letter to your representatives, Stop BSL has published useful letter-writing tips on its website, and you can visit our BSL page for talking points on why breed-specific laws are ineffective.

Multiple organizations – in Maryland and across the country – are on your side. If you would like to get in touch with local groups trying to gather resources to help fellow pit bull owners, contact B-More Dog (you can ask to join their Facebook group here) or Jasmine's House rescue, both located in Baltimore, or Maryland Votes for Animals. Join their mailing lists and ask what you can do to help. There's also a Facebook group called Stop Maryland Pit Bull Discrimination that has been established to keep Maryland residents informed about this court ruling. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

PBRC now accepting entries for our Happy Endings 2013 calendar!

Have you ever envisioned your rescued pit bull gracing the pages of a calendar? Does your pup have good looks, charm, a touching story, really cute costumes or an affinity for sports? If so, here is your chance to make your dreams a reality and share your rescued pit bull with the world!

We are opening submissions for PBRC's 2013 Happy Endings Calendar! An annual tradition since 2002, our Happy Endings Calendar is full of accurate breed information, heart-warming rescue stories, and 12 months of beautiful color photographs of our supporters’ rescued pit bulls! We are accepting pictures now through June 30, 2012.

All the information you need regarding photo specifications, submission, cost, and other details can be found here.

All the proceeds from the photo submissions, as well as the sale of the calendars, are used to further PBRC’s programming to help pit bulls in need. Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to have your furry friend be a pin-up and to help others in need.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fight to end BSL in Miami-Dade not over yet

When Florida’s legislative session got underway in January 2012, the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation (MCABSL) was prepared: It was going to make a push to get two bills, Senate Bill 1322 and House Bill 997, passed that would overturn a ban on pit bulls that has been in place in Miami-Dade County since 1989. Pit bulls aren’t just restricted in the county, they are banned and anyone found to own a dog thought to be a pit bull faces a $500 fine and must remove the dog from the county. Breed-specific legislation is banned under Florida state law, but Miami-Dade’s ban was in place before the state prohibited it, so it’s the only county in Florida that has a pit bull ban in place.

Early in Florida’s legislative session, it looked like the two bills to overturn the county’s BSL stood a chance of passage. But just as the session was drawing to a close, county commissioners struck a deal with state legislators: If the county would put its breed-specific laws on the ballot for a vote in August, the legislature would pull its bills. And it did. This means that the fight to overturn BSL is not over in Miami-Dade, it’s now up to county voters to overturn the laws themselves.

We talked to Dahlia Canes, founder and director of MCABSL, about the battle to end BSL in Miami-Dade County and the organization’s plan moving forward. You can read more about the organization at its website, www.mcabsl.wildapricot.org.

PBRC: What's the story behind the formation of MCABSL?

Dahlia Canes: MCABSL is a non-profit organization in the state of Florida. We are not a 501(c)3, as we are politically involved, but we do take contributions. It all started back in 2007, when I became involved with pit rescues. Shortly afterwards, folks started joining in, and MCABSL was born. There were so many people affected by this and nowhere to turn. MCABSL was and is their hope and dream to end BSL in Miami-Dade County. The response was overwhelming and still is.

PBRC: Before MCABSL, was there any concerted effort to try to repeal Miami's long-standing ban on pit bulls in the county?

DC: No one had ever attempted the lifting of the ban 'til we came along. We were the first to challenge a pit bull confiscation case in Dade and win!

PBRC: How big is MCABSL as an organization?

DC: We have all sorts of folks from all walks of life in our organization, all over the world. We even have a regional director in Kenya, Africa. The members are in the high thousands.

PBRC: Tell us a bit about your early legislative efforts – how did you go about getting your voice heard in the state capitol in Tallahassee? And what kind of response did you get?

DC: The first time we dealt with Tally was back in 2009, when they wanted to amend the Florida state statue prohibiting BSL in Florida. They wanted for every city/county to do whatever they wanted or saw fit. I was sent up there and stayed for a few days. By the time I left, their bill was dead. If this would have passed, there would've have been a slaughtering of bullies throughout Florida. It would've cost the taxpayers a pretty penny and an exodus of folks fleeing the state to save their dogs.

PBRC: What happened during this year’s session? It seemed like things were looking up, but then suddenly the bills to overturn Miami-Dade’s pit bull ban, SB 1322 and HB 997, died?

DC: The bills were steamrolling through the legislature until the Miami-Dade commissioners went to Tally and made an agreement with the sponsor for HB997, Rep. Carlos Trujillo. It went all the way to the end and then it died. The deal [the commission made] puts the question of the removal of the ban in ballot form for the upcoming elections this August. So we now have the tremendous job of educating the residents of this county before then. Is it possible? Of course! Can we do it? Only with everyone’s help and support.

PBRC: Any words of wisdom or advice for others trying to repeal BSL in their cities or states?

DC: For those fighting BSL: Don't let it pass, stop it dead in its tracks! It's harder to repeal than to prevent it from being enacted as law. Stick with education and awareness, get the facts out. Remember, the best ambassadors for this [effort] are the dogs themselves.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Marlins Pitcher and Family Back Campaign to End Miami Breed Ban

A few weeks ago, we posted the story of how new Miami Marlins pitcher, Mark Buehrle, and his family couldn't move to his team's hometown because of Miami-Dade County's breed specific legislation.

Now, the Buehrle family has started a campaign on Change.org and released a PSA
with Best Friends Animal Society in support of state legislation that would repeal Miami-Dade's pit bull ban. Below is a re-post of Jamie Buehrle's recent guest blog on Change.org.

Jamie Buehrle is married to All-Star pitcher Mark Buehrle. Mark recently signed with the Miami Marlins.

Mark and I have always been avid animal lovers. When Mark was playing for the White Sox, we hosted “Sox for Strays,” a public-service announcement campaign that featured adoptable animals once a month during the baseball season. Before our 18-month-old American Staffordshire terrier, Slater, came into our lives we already had three Viszlas: Diesel, Drake, and Duke.

When it became a reality for us that Mark was no longer going to be playing for the White Sox, so many things started going through our minds. Instead of worrying about what team he would be playing for, what schools our kids would go to, and how to transition our lives to a new city, our biggest concern was ensuring our new city would allow Slater. Doesn’t that seem ridiculous?

Slater is a member of our family. We had always agreed to make sure that wherever Mark ended up playing, Slater would be welcome. So, when Mark had the opportunity to sign with the Miami Marlins we were harshly confronted with Miami-Dade County’s 20-year-old pit bull terrier ban and immediately knew we would have to live a county over, in Broward.

Mark and I are fortunate to have the resources to accommodate Slater. But, it breaks our hearts that so many families are faced with losing their family pet simply because a local government has deemed their dog “dangerous” based on nothing more than appearance.

We can't imagine ever having to give Slater up simply because a city says we can't have him. Not only would we be distraught at that prospect, but our kids would be devastated. So, when Best Friends Animal Society reached out and told us about their legislative effort to repeal Miami’s breed-discriminatory legislation, Mark and I were happy to help however we could, especially after our first-hand ordeal.

House Bill 997 and its companion, Senate Bill 1322, will repeal Miami’s pit bull terrier ban and finally relieve law-abiding families from making unfair decisions about their family dog.

Mark and I encourage Miami-Dade residents and everyone who agrees that it is time to remove this law to ask Florida state legislators to support these bills by signing my petition.

Our family is excited to be in South Florida. After this legislation is passed, we hope more families with good canine citizens will be able to move to Miami-Dade without worry or hesitation.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Dress Up Your Pet on January 14th!

January 14th has been designated "Dress Your Pet Up Day". From dressing our pit bulls in coats and boots to protect them from poor weather conditions, to holiday costumes, our dogs do not get much say in their wardrobe!

More and more companies are selling clothing for dogs, even dogs with a more athletic build such as pit bulls. No longer are sweaters, dresses and costumes only for toy breeds. Some of us even spend more on our dog's wardrobe than our own!

Because pit bulls have short hair, sometimes the clothing is truly functional. Winter walks become bearable with a warm coat and boots to protect paws.

Dressing up pets can also help shelters and rescues. A cute sweater can help make a shelter dog appear more approachable. By adding a cute slogan on the side, such as "Adopt Me", the dog can be promoted without any words. It also opens up the doors for conversation, allowing education to the public in a friendly, casual manner.

Whether you own a dog or are promoting adoption of a pit bull looking for a home, showcase some cute canine couture on a pit bull on January 14th!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Activities to entertain your pet bulls


Pit Bulls are like potato chips, most people can't have just one! As a general rule, they can be athletic and vivacious dogs, especially at a young age. Having more than one dog in a home means busy owners need to look for new ways to exercise and entertain pets, while also saving time. PBRC came up with a list of fun activities that can include multiple dogs. Some tips to help make play time enjoyable:

  • Usually it is best to have one handler per dog and if your dog is possessive of toys or treats, some of these activities may not be appropriate. To help avoid altercations it may be best to save high value rewards for one on one time. Always be aware of triggers that can cause an altercation and avoid them.
  • Pay attention to your dog's body language and what it is saying. While many dogs have a rough play style and can be vocal, it is up to us humans to be sure all the dogs are still having fun and playing. Over stimulation can lead to over the top play, which can lead to altercations between dogs.
  • If at any point your dog seems not to be having a fun or is over stimulated, a time out may be needed or perhaps playtime needs to end.
  • It is a good idea to have a dog already well versed in basic cues such as: sit, down, stay, walking nicely on leash and recall before adding another dog to the mix.
  • NEVER leave multiple dogs unattended.
  • When introducing new dogs, PBRC offers advice for the "first date": http://www.pbrc.net/dogintros.html
  1. Recall races: While dogs are in a sit or down stay, move as far away as possible, call dogs to come to you in a happy, excited voice. The dog who gets there first, wins! Multiple handlers can be in multiple locations and can take turns calling different dogs.
  2. Out for a Walk: Taking a walk can strengthen bonds and exercise your dogs. Dogs who learn to work around distractions have better self control. For tips on loose leash walking, check out our link http://www.pbrc.net/training_looseleash.html
  3. Play Dates- Supervised play dates in a secure fenced area are great ways to let your dogs release energy! Typically Pit Bulls may have a "rough and tumble" sort of play style. Dog social dogs with similar play styles, paired with responsible owners makes for a happy, tired set of dogs.
  4. Muffin Pan Game- Each dog has its own muffin pan. Randomly put treats in a muffin pan. Place tennis balls over top of all twelve spaces. Let your dog play a nose work game and see who can find all of the hidden treats first.
  5. Obedience Classes- Some classes are available for multiple dogs. (Usually one handler per dog). It is a great way to show off your ambassadors and teach your pups some new things!
  6. Hide and Seek: Dogs are in a sit or down stay while the human hides. The dog is then cued to "Find him!" and is released from stay to track down his missing person!

These are just some examples of activities to share with multiple dogs. Get creative and see what you can come up with!

Miami Pit Bull Ban Forces Mark Buehrle's Family to Settle Elsewhere

Chicago White Sox fans were upset when star pitcher Mark Buehrle was traded to the Miami Marlins. But even before his 2012 debut in a Marlins uniform, Buehrle is proving himself a supportive superstar in the pit bull community.
Buehrle and his wife are advocates for animal rights and were active when they lived in Chicago in promoting shelter adoptions. But Buehrle is also the owner of Slater, an American Staffordshire terrier, which Miami-Dade County has banned along with all other dogs classified as pit bull since 1989. Rather than giving up Slater, an all-too-common result when breed bans hit close to home, Buehrle worked tirelessly to find housing where he could keep his dog and his contract, even if it means traveling a little further to get to work. Even more significant, in an article with the Miami-Dade Herald, Buehrle noted that he would not have signed with the Marlins if he wouldn’t have been able to find housing that allowed him to keep Slater. A state representative is currently advocating to overturn the county’s breed ban. Hopefully Buehrle’s fame and public stance against such bans will help to push the cause. To read the Yahoo/Sports article about Buehrle and Slater, go to http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/big-league-stew/miami-pitbull-ban-forces-mark-buehrle-family-settle-182451604.html