Attacking the Pit Bull Problem in Los Angeles-MuttShack Animal Rescue Launches Grassroots Campaign

Twenty-six percent of the dogs at the six Los Angeles Animal Services shelters are "Pit Bulls". American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull are various names used to describe the breed and any mix thereof.

Whatever name they go by, they refer to a breed that has been labeled ounce-for-ounce, the strongest dog in dogdom. These dogs have very adoptable traits like a good disposition, stability, and superior physical attributes but often these very characteristics are presented to provide justification for fighting them.

Owning a "Pit Bull" gives their guardians a badge of bravado. These dogs are considered to be "macho" and therefore many owners don't want to neuter and spay them resulting in many unplanned and accidental litters. Consequently, they are also the leading breed and breed mix in Los Angeles shelters.

According to the Villalobos Pit Bull Rescue, the fallout is devastating. According to them the pit bull population in the combined twelve shelters (six city shelters and six county shelters in Los Angeles) has now risen to 40% of all the dogs in shelters.

They say, "Approximately 10 pit bulls are brought in each day to each shelter. That's 120 pit bulls a day. Most are strays, tossed out like dirty laundry." They calculate, "At the end of a week the total comes to 840 pit bulls. Then, according to Animal Control records, only about 2 pit bulls a week get adopted. That means 838 pit bulls a week, die in local shelters." [Villabos Pit Bull Rescue: http://www.vrcpitbull.com.]

The MuttShack Animal Foster and Rescue Foundation, is dedicated to change this tragic statistic. "We need massive adoptions from shelters, a very aggressive spay and neuter program, and an inescapable dog ID' and micro-chipping campaign," says the founder, Amanda St. John.

Shelter dogs are in a life and death competition with Breeders and Pet Stores for potential homes. Shelter dogs need a LifeLine to get their profiles out there. Pounds are filled with purebreds and gorgeous pit mixes, puppies and trained older dogs.

To promote the adoption of at risk pit bulls from Los Angeles Animal Services, MuttShack has put together a slide show that may easily be forwarded to friends by e-mail. It is a grassroots effort and the Pound Pit Bulls' only hope in this competitive pet market.

A viewer can pause the slideshow at any time, read information about the particular dog and find out where to visit him.

The link is updated daily with new dogs, and fresh information. MuttShack's Lifeline for LA Pit bulls can be found at http://www.photochains.com/view/MuttShack_LifeLine_LA_Pit_Bulls]

"Please copy the LifeLine link and forward it to your friends, looking to adopt, or bail one out of the shelter. If you know someone who has a pit bull, or mix, forward the link so that they can get free sterilization and microchipping information!" said Ms. St. John. http://www.photochains.com/view/MuttShack_LifeLine_LA_Pit_Bulls

Several organizations have come forward to offer FREE spay and neuter of any domesticated Pit Bull or pit-mix.

> In Los Angeles, Actors and Others For Animals have declared their mission to curb the problem by offering free Pit Bull spay/neuter surgeries. (Telephone 818-755-6045, or 818-755-6323. Visit www.actorsandothers.com.)

> The Pasadena Humane Society, are offering spay and neuter through their SNiP program. (Telephone 626-792-7151 x106 or http://www.phsspca.org/SNiP/index.htm)

Most dogs forever loose the families they love, because they lack a cheap six-dollar ID tag. A simple ID tag on every dog could save hundreds of dogs' lives. However, since collars can get pulled off during a rescue attempt, the soundest identification is a microchip. When a dog is micro-chipped and registered to a family, it reduces his chances of being lost. Most shelters and Vets provide micro-chipping services.

Microchipping also protects dogs from "bad guys". When owners are identifiable on a database, the dog is secure against being abused or used in pit bull fighting.

Spay and neuter posters in Spanish and in English can also be printed from the website at http:/www.muttshack.org/freespay.html.

MuttShack is asking everyone to print up copies of the poster, and to put them up at Pet Stores, Vets Offices, and animal related facilities, and put them local bulletin boards and coffee shops. Think it is a waste of time? - Consider this: Every poster put up and broadly circulated so far has resulted in an adoption!

When you find the dog of your choice and want to adopt a LAAS Pit Bull, there is no need for a home-check. According to Heidi Heubner, the LAAS Volunteer Coordinator, all the applicant's information is collected and processed. Then the pet gets micro-chipped and sterilized before going to his new home. The Microchip is the new dog's security blanket. It will keep track of the owners if he ever turns up at the shelter.

There is a fee of course, but it is a fraction of what a pet store or breeder charges, and essentially covers the medical bills.

See LAAS' recent program in pit bull handling at http://www.muttshack.org/news-pitbull.html.

According to Pia Salk of 1-800-Save-A-Pet.com, adopting an adult Pit Bull is an instant friend for life. "Ask anybody who has adopted an adult dog, and they'll swear their bond with their rescued pal is as deep as they come. When you open your heart and your home to a dog that needs help, they really do show their appreciation for the rest of their life! No matter what circumstances brought them to the shelter or rescue group, most dogs for adoption are exceptionally affectionate and attentive pets and extremely loyal companions. But first you have to adopt one!" she says.

MuttShack sees abandoned dogs daily. A recent E-mail sent on behalf of the Linda Blair World Heart Foundation read. "Attached you will find a picture of Peetie. Peetie is a 9-month-old pit/boxer/dalmation mix that was rescued by Linda Blair. He had been used as "bait" in Pit bull fights. His ears had been cut half way off. You would think that this would make Peetie an unapproachable dog and aggressive. However it is quite the opposite. He is friendly, playful, trusting and loves to be petted even on the ears. He has all his shots and has been neutered, is house trained and is the best little boy!!! He loves dogs and people. He wants to be loved and he gives love. (He is not great around cats however.) We really need someone to foster him until he finds his new incredible family." Looking at his picture was just a validation of everything they said! Link to Peetie's photo at http://www.muttshack.org/news-pitbull.html.

About Muttshack:
Muttshack Foundation is a 501(c) 3 non-profit, a project of the National Heritage Foundation, established in 1968. MuttShack Foster and Animal Rescue promotes the education and creation of foster homes for abandoned and abused animals.

Muttshackers rescue animals from shelters, and from the streets, rehabilitate and nurture them to health in homes (MuttShacks) and find them quality, permanent new families.

By intervening and rescuing shelter animals about to be put to sleep, MuttShack fostering stops the senseless killing of healthy animals in overcrowded shelters.

Donations save lives. Visit animals online that are in danger of being put to sleep at http://www.muttshack.org. Join us in preventing animals from entering shelters that kill. Support Muttshack Animal Rescue at our secure site https://www.registrationfactory.com/v3/?EventUUID=B47421FD.

MuttShack Foundation for Animal Rescue
http://www.muttshack.org

In The News:

Not my pet projects  Times of India
Keeping family pets safe when travelling  Government of Western Australia
Tech for Your Pets  NewsChannel5.com

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