Darwin Dogs is committed to all dogs, including those unfairly discriminated against in Breed Specific Laws (“BSL”). That’s why Darwin Dogs has teamed up with Brittany Graham Photography for the Pittie Parades. Pit bulls and bully breeds are a lovable group of dogs, and we hope everyone who wants to love and care for one will someday be able to legally do so in their city. The purpose of a Pittie Parade is to peacefully protest the BSL’s in specific cities. On May 3, 2014 at 10:00 a.m., we will start our walk at W 117th and Detroit and walk across Lakewood, Ohio with all our dogs, gaining signatures on petitions in opposition to BSL’s as we go. Dogs and their owners are encouraged to wear their green bandanas in support of the Pittie Parade. ”Bandanas for Banned Breeds” T-shirts are also available.
To find out more about the Pittie Parade, purchase t-shirts, bandanas, or to make a donation, please visit us here. Proceeds from the Lakewood Pittie Parade benefit Cleveland Animal Control Volunteers, who are inundated with pitties who, because they are banned in so many cities, typically never find homes.
Dogs the Cleveland Animal Control volunteers are trying to rescue. Time may be up for them.
I was 21. I had just rented my first place, a house in a not-so-great but cheap-rent part of town, just like a lot of young adults do. I had my dog, Darwin, my car, and my job, and well, that was about it, but that was more than enough.
One Saturday, in the earliest days of March, I was on my way to for breakfast with my roommate, Pri. As we were walking toward the car, I noticed that our next door neighbors had a dog tied up outside. The dog (smaller end of medium-sized) was secured to a railroad spike in the ground by a length of chain not more than 2 feet long. It was March, and typical for Cleveland, it was freezing rain.
Unfortunately, I tend to think the best of people, and figured that they had just gotten a dog and were letting it outside to go to the bathroom (I know, naive). I went about my day as usual, forgetting about the dog after breakfast. The next day, I noticed the same thing: the dog was still chained outside. The concept of an “outside dog” was foreign to me, and therefore still didn’t come up in my mind. I again assumed that the dog was going to the bathroom.
This went on for a week. By the end of the week, I finally got the drift. The next Saturday, as Pri and I were headed out for our weekly breakfast at McDonald’s, I noticed the dog outside again, freezing. I set an ultimatum. If the dog wasn’t in the house by the time I came home from McDonald’s, I was going to march next door and demand that they bring the dog inside. Needless to say the dog was still outside when I got home. Pri left for work, so I indeed marched down my driveway, across my snowy, slushy yard, and pounded on the side door. Nobody answered. I peeked inside through the window, and saw nothing but filth strewn everywhere. I pounded on the door again, but to no avail. I was about to head back to my house when I heard it. A whimper. The dog was crying.
No, this wasn’t the dog I saw, but this is almost exactly the same surroundings. Chained to the ground.
I went to the backyard to see what was going on. There sat the dog, in a mud puddle. There was no food. No water. No shelter. The chain was still attached to the poor animal. I walked up to it, and pet it, wondering what to do. I made my decision. I unhooked the dog picked it up (it was amazingly heavy for it’s size, which I later found out was due to muscle mass) and carried it out of there. I ran across my front yard and put the dog into my garage, wrapped in a blanket I kept in my car. Then I called my father.
“Dad, I just stole a dog. I need your help getting it out of here.” I gave him the circumstances. Now, mind you, my father was a cop. He obviously frowned upon the concept of stealing (which is what I did), but considering the state of the animal, I think he looked at it like I did: liberating. We decided that he would pick me up, and we would bring the dog back to my parents house in Parma, and decide what to do from there. He asked me what kind of dog it was. I told him I thought it was a Boxer.
My father pulled into the driveway not too long afterwards. I ran into the garage, threw the dog into the front seat with my father, and than ran inside the house to grab my purse. By the time I got back into the car, my father was plastered up against the driver’s door, giving the dog as much room as he possibly could. ”Kerry, that’s not a Boxer!!! That’s a damn Pit Bull!!”, he shouted. The dog just sat there panting, with what I would later learn was a Pittie smile across his face. The dog (I called him Chico for some reason) slept on my lap the entire way to my parents house, where we let him rest for a couple hours (snuggled with my dad on the couch), before contacting a local shelter, who mercifully took him in. I followed his progress: he was adopted by a volunteer a very short time later. Happy ending for Chico!
Meanwhile, Pri came home. She called me at my parent’s house, asking what I’d done. I told her. She said no matter what, do not bring that dog back to our house. ”There are a bunch of guys outside with dog just like the one you stole.” They were following my footprints down their driveway, into their backyard where the dog was, and but then my footprints disappeared because I had gone across my yard, where the slushy mud made them vanish. Pri told me that they were doing weird things to the other dogs in the yard, like making them bite something and then dangling them in the air. At that time, I had never heard of dog fighting (I know…insulated childhood), but all the signs were there. Chico had been destined to fight.
To this day, I still wonder if anything could have been done for those other dogs. Chico, in the brief time I knew him, was a sweet, wonderful, kind little boy. I had taken him for a short walk around my parent’s block, and he was fine with meeting two people on the way. He got along well with my parent’s smallish dog, Pebbles. He didn’t kill the cats that were at my parents’ house, either. In other words, he was a great dog.
Unfortunately, this story would not happen today. Pit bulls are banned in most cities, including Parma. I would not have been able to bring Chico back to my place, here in Lakewood, because they are outlawed.
Dogs that have no place to go are euthanized. There’s not much that can be done in an overcrowded shelter. There’s no more room on the Ark. Now imagine how much lessened your chance is of coming out of a shelter alive if you are a Pit Bull. Most cities won’t even allow you to be adopted. I’ve seen it time and time again with clients I work with: I help with dog selection for my clients. They want me to help them pick out a dog that will best work for them, and I’m happy to do it. Until we get to the county shelter, which is inundated with Pitties. My client falls in love with several of them, but can’t adopt them, because they live in a city with a ban. Those dogs most likely won’t make it out alive.
So I walk for Chico. I walk for the dogs that should have had homes, but couldn’t be brought home because of breed bans. A dog should be allowed to live and thrive based on nothing more than it being a dog. Not all dogs work within a home, but that determination should be made on an individual basis. After all, I stole a Pit Bull from a backyard, who according to BSL’s, should have mauled me upon sight. Chico instead was the accurate standard for all Pittie breeds: a wonderful, slobbering, goofy dog. So I ask you: join me on this walk. For Chico and for all other Pitties out there who deserve so much better!
FREEDOM RIDE! One of the lucky ones who made it out!
Orion shows his support of Pitties by wearing his green bandana.
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio