Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Grace Under Fire


These dogs have a big job to do. They have to show America that they’re not monsters. We need to let America see that they’ve been lied to when they’ve been told that pit bulls are vicious and dangerous animals. They need to see that they’re sentient beings, that they’re just dogs and they deserve comfort, care, and compassion. They remind us that everyone needs to be treated as an individual.

– Donna Reynolds, Co-Founder, Bad Rap, speaking about the pit bulls seized from Michael Vick's property.

* * *

Now that Michael Vick has been sentenced, the court-ordered gag on the fate of the 49 dogs seized from his property has been lifted. All of them, all 49, are currently awaiting forever homes under the guidance of various animal rescue groups across the United States, including Best Friends animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Ten of the dogs are with Bad Rap. Those are three of them in the above photo.

Those of us involved in animal advocacy cannot even begin to relay just how mind-blowingly landmark this decision was by a Federal Court to allow independent assessment of these dogs. Dogs which are traditionally labeled "kennel trash" and thoughtlessly killed by the tens of thousands at so-called "shelters" each year just because they were born the wrong breed.

But in this case, they got a fair shake. In this case, federal prosecutor Mike Gil bravely bucked the trend and deemed these pit bulls victims, not criminals. And, as victims, worthy of individual assessment and possibly life as companion animals.

You know what these pit bulls all have in common? They're awesome. Social. Happy. Kid-friendly. Media slutty.

Read about them here. And here. Oh, and here's a, get this, fair and balanced AP article.

14 comments:

Stepherz said...

What sweet creatures. Pitbulls have adorable faces. But I've never met a dog face I didn't love.

I think it's wonderful those pups will find good homes. That makes my heart smile...

Doris Rose said...

That was a terrific article and I'm so happy for them. They will make some very fine pets to some lucky families.Yea Pitties!

Wicked Thistle said...

If you'll pardon the pun, I think Hurricane Katrina really turned the tide in terms of how we think about and treat our animals. There was so much media coverage about animals left behind either to die or to suffer in horrific conditions that it suddenly became hip and cool to be seen on camera rescuing them. And in the wake of that shift in American consciousness, we have the Vick dogs. Yes, a BIG grazi to Mike Gil for recognizing that the pups were victims of a cruel "guardian," not vicious brutes waiting to eat children and cars (are you reading this, Ivan? we do *not* eat cars.). I hope we never turn back from this latest step in our evolution.

Meghan said...

That is so brilliantly awesome. This is huge step forward for animal rights.

moi said...

Meghan: Actually, this is a huge step forward for animal WELFARE. Animal "rights" people want to eradicate pit bulls and ALL companion animals. A subject for another post.

Melissaria said...

Here in the UK, we have the same issue. Now the sort of areshole who used to have a pitbull to make his (and it was ALWAYS a he...) dick seem bigger has a Staffordshire Bull Terrier instead, and guess what - these dogs are becoming just as reviled. The breed isn't the problem...it's a certain type of person who wants an aggressive looking penis extension on a lead.

Brilliantly argued post, from a fellow 'dog' person!

moi said...

Melissaria: God that guts me – say it ain't so about the Staffie Bull! In the land of their origin, no less . . . gah!

I just want to wring the necks of these idiots who ruin it for the rest of us. Who know squat about dogs except as an extension of their twisted machismo and who are allowed to willy nilly set about devolving the world's greatest performance/companion breeds.

F- - kers.

Gypsy said...

Those dogs always look like they're smiling. There are no bad dogs, only bad owners. Even a poodle can give a nasty bite if provoked.

upset waitress said...

In my county, you are not allowed to own a pitt unless you carry liability insurance. Bullshit in my eyes. Cocker Spaniels have the highest bite rate of any dog. It's sad because it was "people" that gave them such a bad rap. Assholes.

The Troll said...

I second what Mellissaria said. Anyhay, dogs are blessed with short memories. And physically removing them from the scents and sounds of those bad memories makes them forget even faster.

They've already forgotten their encounters with vicious animals like Mikey Vick and his posse. And can be great pets or working dogs.

Mark said...

I like it here. Can I hang out for a while?

We have a rescue dog, an experience that was touch and go for a while. Abuse and neglect left him scarred. He bit our female twice, the second time badly.

I ignored the vet's remarks that he was not going to turn around, citing the "drawing of blood" canard that he would always be vicious.

I didn't want to abandon him like everyone else had. We worked with him, kept them separated for a while when we couldn't supervise them and were careful about being equitable with food (the major issue for him that made him aggressive).

He's the sweetest damn dog now that he's learned he has a permanent place here with love and respect.

Mark said...

I like it here. Can I hang out for a while?

We have a rescue dog, an experience that was touch and go for a while. Abuse and neglect left him scarred. He bit our female twice, the second time badly.

I ignored the vet's remarks that he was not going to turn around, citing the "drawing of blood" canard that he would always be vicious.

I didn't want to abandon him like everyone else had. We worked with him, kept them separated for a while when we couldn't supervise them and were careful about being equitable with food (the major issue for him that made him aggressive).

He's the sweetest damn dog now that he's learned he has a permanent place here with love and respect.

moi said...

Mark: Oopsie, didn't see ya commenting all the way down here! Sure, hang all you want.

Good on ya for not giving up on your pooch. Dog reactivity is not a cut and dried thing, and there are many, many reasons for its manifestation. Rarely is the behavior unmanageable. You are doing the right thing: don't feed together, separate when gone, praise with lots of high value treats when dog is acting appropriately.

All the best!

landis smithers said...

ah, pitties!

sigh.