Monday, March 30, 2009

What It's All About Folks! YOU Can Make a Difference!

Remember Topanga? Our heart worm positive girl who was so afraid of people that it took a caring neighbor and shelter employees nearly a month to catch her.

This beautiful lady has obviously been through so much. I'd like to tell you the portion of her story that I personally know. You see, I was one of the shelter workers who tried so hard, for so long, to gain Topanga's trust.

I saw her for the first time one cold morning as I was coasting down the shelters driveway going to work. There is a little house that sits off the driveway just a few hundred feet from the shelter its self. As I passed the house, I saw the most broken but sweetest looking dog standing between the house and the driveway, quietly trying not to be noticed. Her teats were hanging and still had some milk in them; I knew she had just come off a litter of puppies. I felt so sad for her and I wondered where her pups might be. She turned around when she saw me so I stopped to watch her, hoping that she would head for home. As she turned though, I noticed a gash on her shoulder, about 6 inches long, and it looked pretty deep. I wanted to go to her but when she noticed that I had stopped she trotted off, away from my truck. And that is how our journey with Topanga began.

For weeks, I, along with other shelter employees attempted daily to win this white pit bull's trust. She hung around the shelter and a neighbors place because there was an abundance of food at her disposal. We always kept cat food outside, to feed the feral cats that were a part of the TNR (trap neuter and release) program, and the neighbor had pets of his own and began leaving food out for Topanga as well. One afternoon the neighbor called the shelter to tell us had coaxed her into his barn, with the help of his Jack Russel Terrier, and that she was warm and safe. The next day we brought her into our kennels and began treating her wound and get her on a healthy track to start a new life.

I was the adoptions coordinator and behaviorist at the shelter. I must say that Topanga is one of the softest dogs I've ever met in all of my 28 years of working with dogs. She literally had a look of doom on her face, as if she expected the whole world to come crashing down on her at any second. It was painfully obvious to me, in seeing both her physical scars and her emotional state, that this poor dog had lived a completely sad and highly probable abusive life.

The picture to the left was taken during one Topanga's daily trips to my office. As part of her therapy, I would bring her up front with me to hang out and gain her trust. It took some time, but eventually Topanga began to look forward to our time together and she grew comfortable enough with me to actually look at me when I had that big scary camera covering my face. (I promise that isn't poop by her tail in the picture. It was a treat that I had given her. She did not like it and she was apparently letting me know!)

The day Topanga went home with her foster mom, she actually had to be carried to the car. You see, there were a few people that she trusted at the shelter and she would walk along happily with those few. She had a couple of "doggie friends" who were confident and open to playing with anyone, and they helped make Topanga feel a little bit better about herself. Their energy seemed to empower this angel enough to help her take walks and she even began to play with her trusted shelter employee friends. With people she did not know however, Topanga was still very shy and unsure of what to expect. When I sent her off with her foster family, my heart broke and I was (admittedly) afraid for her. Not because I did not trust the family whom we chose to care for her and show her what the life of a beloved pet should be, I had every bit of faith in these folks. I was afraid for her because I knew how extremely hard this next step in her road to a better life would be. I knew the obstacles that Topanga would have to overcome, and I knew how afraid SHE was to be leaving the place she had come to call "home" and the people she had learned to trust. The shelter is no kind of home. It's boring, it's cold, it's noisy, it smells funny and it is a very scary place for an animal whether their time is up or not.

A few short weeks ago, we posted an update with pictures of Topanga and myself. We had an event at a local pet store and Mrs. Topanga stopped by for a short visit. Very much to my surprise and pleasure, the dog I saw that day was not the same dog that I said "good bye" to at the shelter. I watched as Topanga approached our table with her head held high. Her tail was still tucked between her legs, but she had a new confidence about her that brought tears of joy to my eyes. This is all because of and thanks to her new foster family and their devotion to helping Topanga through whatever fears she might face, and to their patience in allowing Topanga time to process the new world around her.

I really enjoyed spending time with Topanga that day at our event. I think her favorite part of the day was going into the pet store and getting to choose her own treats from the smorgasbord of dog treats and toys on the lower shelves. The highlight of my day however, was when it was time for her to go home and I watched as her foster mom opened the door to the truck and Topanga jumped right in and took her seat, anxiously waiting for the ride that was to come!

Some of you may have attended Pet Fest at Mount Pleasant Palmetto Islands County Park over this past weekend. If you were lucky, you stopped by our table on Sunday and got to meet Topanga in person. I, unfortunately, was not there on Sunday, but Alicia (our director) sent me the most fabulous pictures and a truly wonderful update! Topanga walked through a massive crowd of people and dogs, with noise and smells coming from all different directions and she did it with more confidence and a great big bully grin! She's still got a good bit of rehab ahead of her before she is ready to move into her forever home, but just look at the pictures below and tell me that opening your home to a dog in need is not worth it...

THIS Is What It's All About Folks! YOU Can Make a Difference!
Become a foster for Pit Bulls in need.

Fun Fact: Topanga is a Shoshonean Indian word or name that means 'above place', and is often used in reference to the sky or heaven. I can't think of a better name for this little lady, because she truly is an angel sent down from heaven above.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Realities of the Negative Stereotype

Tuesday, we received an email plea from an individual who's found himself in a very tricky situation that makes me simply shake my head because of how easy it is for others who do not like pit bulls to take away our dogs.

Here's an excerpt from the email, with names removed/modified to protect privacy:

Last Friday the 6th of March, while I was at work my roommate accidently left my door open and Sampson got out. Unfortunately, my neighbor’s dog was right outside and they got in a fight. In trying to get my dog of his, my neighbor stuck his hand inside of my dogs mouth and hot a puncture wound on his hand. I saw it and it didn’t even draw blood and CERTAINLY was not a bite. I want/need to be very clear about that- my dog has NEVER, NEVER even came close to biting another human being. Animal control was called and they explained to me that he had to be taken into quarantine for 10 days and that after that I could get him out. However, there would be certain, strict conditions I would have to abide by. i.e I was the ONLY person that could ever handle him, he couldn’t be around other humans unless I was around, and couldn’t even be in the yard without me. During this 10 day period, they would investigate him and see if he was a harm and a “dangerous animal”. I got a call that night from the officer stating that they had investigated him and found him to be a very friendly animal, which he certainly is and that I would be able to pick him up after the 10 day period.

I was supposed to be able to pick him up on March 16th and I got a call from Officer BM stating that they had reversed their position and were now considering him a dangerous animal. Apparently during the week, they received several calls from other neighbors with fabricated stores. For instance, my neighbor down the street stated that she always saw him running around without a leash terrorizing the neighborhood which is a blatant lie. Then last night I found out the my neighbor whom owned the dog was walking up and down the street last week w/ a picture of his dog’s injuries telling everybody to call animal control. As a result, the officer is considering him “dangerous” and said he could live elsewhere, but not in my street anymore.

Folks, this is why it can be TOUGH owning this breed. This is why you need to be 110% on top of your dogs AT ALL TIMES.

I can't personally speculate that this is 100% true because obviously, I wasn't there. BUT, if the story is true as recounted, let this be a lesson of how much power people CAN have over our dogs for even the smallest mistake.

And when one hateful person employs the power of fear within other people who know not to ask the truth, tell me, what CAN you do? This individual is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Rescues are full. Technically, this dog now has a "bite history" even though it may have been a result of the person getting in the way. Many places can't and won't take a dog with a "bite history." This dog doesn't have time to wait. This dog also has no where to go now. All because of fear. All because of lack of knowledge about these dogs. All because some aren't educated or refuse to be educated. This dog will likely die for being a dog. All because of one mistake and a group of people dedicated to his demise.

Let me share another email with you, also received Tuesday. I really want to drive the point home on responsible ownership.

With this next excerpt, we aren't afforded the whole story. There's a lot of grey in this email and it leaves many questions to be answered. However, the one resounding idea we can receive from this is that ONLY YOU can prevent accidents like this from happening in the first place.

My name is *name removed* and I have a problem that I need advice on. My problem is "How to save my dog's life” I have two pit bull dogs that I love and they are a part of my family. On March 10th 2009 my dogs and I were in the yard I live in a rural route area. I had my male pit bull tied to a weighted chain which I use to slow him down other wise I would not be able to catch him. Someone was passing the street in front of my home and my male pit named *removed*, some how got away and attacked the person. Here is my problem, the animal control code enforcement for *location in South Carolina* issued me three summonses for $1500 which I either have to pay or they will euthanize my dog. This would be like killing one of my kids and I cannot allow this to happen is there any help/advice you can render to me and my family to save my dog as I do not have the money to pay the summons. I have a lung disease and do not work.

How did this dog "somehow" get away? Where WAS the owner? It sounds like this dog got loose frequently. Why was that permitted? There are SO many questions to be asked here but one fact remains: the dog was not in control of it's owner and a big accident happened. That one big accident can effectively harm each and every one of us pit bull owners because these attacks fuel the fire under people who want to see our breed eradicated.

We have a lot to overcome by being breed owners and advocates. We must remain a step ahead of the rest. We must put ourselves out there as being the most responsible dog owners around. We have to work together to educate and promote a change in the perception of responsible pit bull owners.

Be vigilant. Be responsible. Be aware. Educate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pentagon Bans Pit Bulls From Army Housing

A Pentagon memorandum issued earlier this year that bans pit bulls, Rottweilers, Dobermans and chows from living on Army bases has come under fire as being cold, backwards, misguided and an insult to soldiers who have served their country. Read more at Ohmidog!

Given the recent decision by the Pentagon to ban Pit Bulls and other "dangerous" breeds from Army housing, we thought it'd be nice to pay tribute to America's [apparently] forgotten heroes.

By the time of WWI the American Pit Bull Terrier had became a well loved and desired dog breed of choice. In fact the Pit Bull was used as America's canine military mascot as seen in such posters as these during war time.

Sergeant Stubby (1916 or 1917 – March 16, 1926), was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat.

Stubby was found on the Yale campus in 1917 by John Robert Conroy. He was of unknown breed; some sources speculated that he was part Boston Terrier and part Pit Bull, while other sources state that he was in fact a pure bred American Pit Bull Terrier while his obituary described him as a "Bull terrier" (which was at the time synonymous with "American Bull Terrier" and "Pit Bull Terrier"). Stubby marched with Conroy and even learned an approximate salute. When Conroy's unit shipped out to France, Stubby was smuggled aboard the USS Minnesota.

At war’s end, Stubby was treated like a hero. Doors were opened for him, as opposed to being slammed in his face. After returning home, Stubby became a celebrity and marched in, and normally led, many parades across the country. He met Presidents Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren G. Harding. Starting in 1921, he attended Georgetown University Law Center with Conroy, and became the Hoyas' mascot. He would be given the football at halftime and would nudge the ball around the field to the amusement of the fans.

Stubby wasn't our only hero! Dogs were commonplace during the Civil War as companions for the soldiers and during the Spanish-American War, "Jack Brutus" became the official mascot of Company K, First Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.

"Old Jack", as he was known, was considerably bigger than STUBBY and fortunately the Connecticut soldiers never got the chance to try to smuggle him anywhere since they basically spent the War encamped at various places here in the states providing coastal defense from Maine to Virginia. "Old Jack" died of spinal troubles and constipation in 1898.

From The United States War Dogs Association - Their training is intense; their working conditions are deplorable; their lives are always on the line; and in at least one case, namely Vietnam, their rewards were non-existent. And this seems to be the case again... because the Pentagon is now refusing to recognize the heroic efforts, the loyalty, courage and the undying love that these dogs possess. Instead of honoring these dogs and our troops who sacrifice so much for this great nation, our government now chooses to refuse our men and women, and our war dogs, the dignity and freedom that they fight so hard to preserve for our country.

Today, in light of a recently approved Pentagon policy, soldiers returning home — if they have a pit bull, Rottweiler, chow or Doberman Pinscher in their family — won’t be allowed to keep them if they live on a military base. (Thanks for fighting for our “freedom,” though.)

It has been estimated that these courageous canines saved more than 10,000 lives during the conflict in Vietnam; and that there are some 700 dogs in the Middle East right now. They are being used to patrol Air Bases, Military Compounds, Ammunition Depots and Military Check Points. They are guarding and protecting our Military Personnel as they were trained to do, with courage, loyalty and honor.

The story of Chips is one that brings a tear to my eye, because it is an example of how blind some people can be. In World War II, a shepherd-collie mix named Chips was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for attacking an enemy machine-gun nest in Sicily and, despite a bullet wound, forced the six-man crew to surrender. The Army later revoked the awards, calling it demeaning to service members to give medals to animals.

His unit unofficially awarded him a Theater Ribbon with an Arrowhead for an assault landing, and Battlestars for each of his eight campaigns. Chips was discharged in December 1945 and returned to his original (the Wren) family.

In 1990, Disney made a TV movie based on his life, entitled Chips, the War Dog.

"They did a big part and I think that if you're going to honor the military I don't know how you can do that and not honor the dogs that were involved in that and gave just as much, and when you give your life, that's the most you can give." - Larry Laudner; Vietnam dog handler.

We believe that a dog does not have to serve in the military to be considered a hero. Many of our country's men and women leave behind loyal and courageous family pets when they head out to serve our - THEIR - country. Pets who are trusted to watch over their children and family in their absence. Pets who are loved, and who are there for them when they return. These dogs serve our troops as much as any, because they are there to help mend broken hearts when a soldier does not come home, and they are there to help aid our troops and ground them when they do come home.

I personally, as many of you do, have family who serve our country... who have loved ones, including those of the canine species, more specifically the breeds that are now being BANNED in military housing, waiting for them to return home. Is it fair for our government to tell our loved ones that even though they fight for this freedom, they cannot be loyal to and love the very species who serves along side them?

Best Friends says citizens against the Army’s ban should write a letter to the president, members of the House Armed Services Committee, and Army officials.

To contact the President, click here or send an e-mail to and put the appropriate name in the subject line.

To contact members of the Armed Services Committee, click here.

To contact the Army, e-mail Ms. Joyce VanSlyke at

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ready To Be ZAZZLED?!

Or visit our gallery at Zazzle

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Long Overdue Update on Rescue Shenanigans!

Hi there folks!

We've been incredibly busy lately which has kept us from keeping everyone updated, but also means that we've got a LOT to update about! We have no clue where to start!

Hmm....let's see...Topanga! Our lovely lady stopped by at our event at the Pet Lover's Warehouse on February 21st. Ms. 'Panga went in for her first heartworm treatment on Monday the 9th, thanks to all of our very generous donors! She's showing no ill side effects from her first treatment which we're very pleased to hear about. In another month, she'll be going back to the vet for a back to back injection treatment to kill off more of the worms where she'll be under close supervision of our veterinarian. After that, she'll wait another month and get an oral dose of some more meds to kill off the babies and then a month after that, we can get her re-checked for the heartworms and hopefully have a 100% healthy Topanga! Cross your fingers, toes, and paws for a speedy recovery!

Ms. Venus-Honey is doing marvelous as well and is ready for adoption! She has made a full recovery and we couldn't be more pleased with her progress :) She's filled out well and is doing great with obedience training. If you know of anyone looking for a little pittie girl, she's the one! She's at a healthy weight, right around 40lbs and is an adult believe it or not! She's probably closer to age 3 as she has some pretty significant wear on her teeth. She's crate trained and house broken too! Good things DO come in small packages!

Psst! Some people insist that Venus-Honey can't be purebred because she's so "small." Folks, you are correct that she may not be purebred. None of our dogs may be purebred. We didn't get to meet the parents so it's truly ANYONE'S guess. To our experienced eyes however, Venus-Honey is closer to what this breed originally started in appearances. They were built to be smaller, lean, athletic dogs and she is all of that. In general, the females weighed between 30-40lbs and the males between 35-45lbs.

As per the UKC Standard for the American Pit Bull Terrier:
The American Pit Bull Terrier must be both powerful and agile so actual weight and height are less important than the correct proportion of weight to height. Desirable weight for a mature male in good condition is between 35 and 60 pounds. Desirable weight for a mature female in good condition is between 30 and 50 pounds. Dogs over these weights are not to be penalized unless they are disproportionately massive or rangy.

Now that we've got our mini-lesson on the APBT breed standard weight out of the way, we want to update you guys on our shining star, GOLDA! Folks, this wonderful girl came to us after having been picked up off the side of the road near death. This girl came to us after having been treated for heartworms. This lucky girl shows physical signs of having been put through the ringer! We've had people even comment to us when talking about her that they wouldn't want a "damaged" dog! Damaged? HARDLY. The only thing damaged about this sweet girl is where she's missing a portion of her bottom lip. Beyond that, she's one rock solid GOOD girl who doesn't deserve the short end of the stick that's handed to these dogs already, not to mention the reactions some people give to seeing her missing her lip. She is a testament to all dogs out there that no matter what, having been fought, having gotten into a fight, having been physically abused, that these dogs can STILL bounce back and be as forgiving and loving of people and strangers as ever. We should all take note from Golda on the ability to forgive and trust. Now, because she is such an awesome girl, she managed to worm her way into the hearts of Bill and Beryl and is now living the life we all want to live out near the beach! Give her some extra smooches for us because we're gonna miss her! But, we're happy for all of you!

Have you all been wondering about our other shining star? Our beautiful "long timer" Mia? Well for the last month, she's been in a foster to adopt placement and we're all crossing our fingers that we'll know for sure if we can consider Mia adopted finally! Her potential forever home is a wonderful guy who is super devoted to working with his dog(s) :) It was very obvious upon meeting him and his boy Ox, that he puts time into his dog and enjoys the company. We're very pleased that Mia will have the opportunity to potentially have a life with this guy. Cross your fingers everyone! After many months, this girl DESERVES it!

If you haven't heard yet, Pet Fest 2009 is in a couple of weeks and we'll be in attendance! Saturday, March 28th we'll be there from 10AM-4PM and Sunday the 29th, we'll be there from 12PM-4PM. This is going to be super exciting and a very busy day! We're of course going to have Our Magnets there (cheaper at events than they are online by the way :) ) but we've also got a couple of t-shirt designs coming our way. We've had these ideas milling about for quite some time and have just recently been able to focus a little bit of time to get them finalized. Here's a teaser for you guys:

We're also plugging away at more unisex designs so you men out there don't feel so left out. We've got some good ones in our heads, its just getting them onto the computer! We've also started a account but haven't opened the store yet since we'd like to have a variety of designs available. Hopefully, we'll have that ready for you all around the beginning of April :) Keep your eyes open as we'll be sure to let you know when you can visit!

Anywho, that's all we've got for now but we'll be back to update again soon, so never fear!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Darlington County, SC - Suspected Dog Fighting Ring Raided

Alright, in our last blog post we said that we would try to update you all as we learn more... and this case is what we are talking about. It is truly sad, as right now we do not have all the facts and we don't know if these dogs were indeed used in a fighting ring. What we do know is that they were confiscated and that they need help.

Folks! This is happening right here in our own "back yard". We are praying like the dickens that these dogs will be given a fair chance and that the Faron dogs, along with the Vick dogs and countless other dogs that have been seized in fight busts and other criminal cases will be their angels and will light the way and allow for them to be evaluated as individuals. We don't want to jump the gun in this, but the possibility is there that we may be called upon to help and if that time comes, we will need YOU... these dogs will need YOU to help us help them.

Published: March 4, 2009

About 10 pit bulls have been seized and four people have been arrested in connection with an apparent dogfighting operation discovered late Friday afternoon in Darlington County.

Deputies responded to a mobile home at 1619 Patrick Highway about 5 p.m. Friday, Darlington County Sheriff’s Sgt. Charles Wright said. They found the dogs, as well as the four suspects and about $5,000 in crack cocaine and cash.

Although the dogs are in good condition, investigators believe they were being bred to fight because of the conditions on the property and because they were being fed high-quality, high-protein food, Wright said.

The Darlington County Humane Society has been contacted to take care of the dogs, he said.

The case also is unusual because of the large amount of drugs and cash confiscated, as well as the number of people involved, Wright said.

Investigators also are trying to determine whether the four suspects are linked to a drive-by shooting of a Hartsville-area residence earlier in the week, Wright said. No one was injured in the shooting.

James Barrett, 38, of 1619 Patrick Highway; Triston Wesley of Bishopville; Kendrick Wesley, 20, and Kentrey Wesley, 18, both of Hartsville, are each charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute, Wright said.

Kendrick and Kentrey Wesley are brothers; Triston Wesley is their cousin, the sergeant said.

All four suspects were taken to the Darlington County Detention Center, where they will be held pending bond hearings.

Additional charges and arrests are possible as the investigation continues, Wright said.

Dog fights average nearly an hour in length and often last more than two hours. Dogfights end when one of the dogs will not or cannot continue.

Under South Carolina law, any person who owns an animal for the purpose of fighting or baiting, is a party to any fighting or baiting of any animal or obtains the use of any structure for the purpose of fighting or baiting any animal is guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be punished by a fine of $5,000 or five years in prison or both.

The law also provides for seizure and forfeiture of animals used in fighting operations.

Attorney General Henry McMaster formed a dogfighting task force in March 2004 to crack down on the crime. Within about six months, state and local authorities made criminal cases against at least 28 people suspected of dogfighting or owning equipment used to support it.

Law enforcement and Humane Society officials have said it’s believed dogfighting is about a $500 million industry among 50,000 dog fighters nationwide, according to a 2007 report in The (Sumter) Item. The money is made through betting, gate receipts, drug deals and dog sales.

The Humane Society estimates 30,000 people across the nation participate in dogfighting, the report said.

South Carolina is a favorite spot because the state has a great deal of rural space, and breeders here have produced several winning blood lines, he said.

Candlelight Vigil Held for Innocent Victims

With the last couple of weeks being very busy for us, it's been a little difficult to update the blog here as we should. For this, we do apologize. We've got a couple of things to update you all on over the next few days and I hope that we can bring you all regular updates as we learn more. This post is sort of a "two-fer" in that we want to recognize the love and support for the Faron dogs and let everyone out there know that indeed the death of these dogs was not, and will not be taken lightly nor will it be forgotten.

Candlelight Vigil Held for Innocent Victims

March 5, 2009 : 10:04 PM
Emotional remembrance a hopeful beginning for change in North Carolina

By Pam Hay, Best Friends Network Volunteer

Last night a group of animal advocates came together in Raleigh, North Carolina to attend a candlelight vigil in memory of lives lost - in this case 145 canine lives - who were killed through no fault of their own, but because of an unjust law.

Heartbreaking to all involved, the purpose of the vigil was twofold; to mourn the loss of the euthanized dogs, including approximately 70 puppies, as well as to help make sure this does not reoccur.

The event’s message was clear; change the way dogs are treated once seized from fighting operations. Give them the opportunity to be individually assessed by experienced and reputable organizations and give them the chance they deserve - the one that was denied to these innocent victims.

Laura Gonzo, a Best Friends volunteer, commended law enforcement for taking dog fighting seriously, but criticized the mandatory execution of dogs without due process, instead encouraging change in the current North Carolina law, so that future seized dogs have the right to be given the potential for a loving life.

“We are here today to send a message to our legislators that these are not monsters, but dogs that deserve our compassion; dogs that deserve to be evaluated as individuals, dogs that deserve the same chance that we would give any other dog,” noted Gonzo. “Any dog that comes into the shelter system should be held to the same set of standards and given the same opportunities. All homeless dogs, no matter where they are found or who has failed them, deserve a second chance.”

Shelia Carlisle, Best Friends volunteer and foster parent for several of the victimized animals, described how loving and playful these innocent puppies were and how her heart was torn to pieces when she had to give them up only to then be destroyed. She had recently reached out to Best Friends in an attempt to try and save the puppies she had carefully nurtured.

(click on the image to the left to view a video chronicling the vigil)

“This is a dangerous pit bull dog that must be killed,” noted Carlisle as she held a photo of Grimmy, one of the many puppies born from the seized dogs. After being fostered from near death to health, his foster mother was “told that she must bring him back to the warehouse because it was time for him to be killed.”

A bell was rung 145 times as attendees placed 145 collars on a dog bed, in memory of each canine who had crossed.

There was not a dry eye at the site, as Carlisle then sang Wayfarer Stranger by Johnny Cash with true emotion in her voice. Even one of the journalists reporting on the event noted, “This was done with dignity and was very powerful.”

This travesty of justice was the direct result of North Carolina’s antiquated laws that state all fighting dogs seized be catagorically defined as dangerous.

There are so many misconceptions about the American pit bull terrier, as well as other dogs that fall into the category of "bully breeds." The public is led to believe that fighting and viciousness are "in their blood." This is not true; these dogs are just as innocent when they are born as other breeds.

What makes dogs dangerous is not their breeding; but the people behind them.

They are not lost causes. In fact, there have been many instances that prove just the opposite. Many are capable of being socialized to become loving, loyal pets, even where there are children and other animals in the house.

Bad laws and policies regarding fighting dogs must be changed so that these dogs can be evaluated individually, not as a whole, and given a second chance at a good life.

“This vigil became an event because of the deep conviction of the volunteers,” noted Ed Fritz, Best Friends Pit Bulls Campaign Specialist. “It is the outpouring of support from people at times like this that validate my commitment to this issue.”

It is the hope and prayer of those attending that the public continues to push and give voice to the voiceless - the most unfortunate victims of dog fighting operations.

“These animals were beautiful, they were funny, they were playful, they hugged us, they wanted us to pick them up. We fell in love with them and we tried so hard to save them, and there was no way…,” Carlisle said to the crowd. “I just pray to God that this never has to keep going on and happens to other animals.”

How You Can Help:
• Do not let history repeat itself. North Carolina residents are urged to contact your state Senator and Representatives to request a redraft of North Carolina Statute NC 67-1 - 4.1 (a)(1).

• Find your state legislators here by inputting your zip code + 4 (scroll down page, right hand column).

• Insist that the following language from North Carolina Statute NC 67-1 - 4.1 (a)(1) be removed from the definition of Dangerous Dog: “Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or any dog trained for dog fighting.”

Please also remind your legislators that all dogs are individuals and should be evaluated as such, not grouped together by breed.

Media coverage:
Pit Bull Lovers Hope To Change State Law To Allow Dog Rehabilitation
Activists upset at dog euthanization over rehabilitation
Group hopes to save dogs from euthanasia
Group holds vigil in hopes of changing NC dog fighting laws
On the Internet, everyone helps your dog

Posted by Jennifer Hayes, Best Friends staff
Photo credit: taken by Clay Myers, Best Friends photographer