Since my dear friend and animal angel Toni adopted out 8 dogs this past weekend, she has room to save more dogs from our local county shelter. She called this morning only to learn that all of the dogs on the “E” list are Pit Bulls. Though Toni’s specialty is saving and placing Pits, her group has a limit on how many they will take, so today she cannot save a single dog, and tomorrow they will all die.
This has put a black cloud over an otherwise happy time of year for me. Don’t get me wrong, animals die every single day in my county…and across this country. ..but it’s always harder this time of year for some reason. I think all animals should be inside, celebrating with their families, and eating good food.
Education is sorely needed. All animal owners need to know that breeding is the cause of these staggering statistics for Pit Bulls: some will learn and others will thumb their noses and mate their breeding bitch yet another time. Toni recently saved a female Pit who had been used to breed and deliver so many puppies that she was so emaciated she could no longer carry a litter to term. She was tossed out on the street, so sick she nearly died. Today she shares a warm and loving home with a family and another canine friend.
Another Pit rescued a few days ago was found wandering the streets. She was so emaciated she could barely stand and it was apparent that she had been used as an ashtray…there were cigarette burns all over her body. She is being fed, is in a warm place, and is sleeping on one of my Rosie’s beds so she had some padding between her bones and the floor. Once healthy enough, Toni will work her magic and this loving girl will enjoy a loving home of her own. But she is one of the very lucky ones.
In my county, 219 dogs are killed every day, 365 days a year. Thirty percent of all dogs turned into the county shelter are Pit Bulls, and 73% of those are killed. Three of every ten Pit Bull puppies won’t reach their second birthday.
Some of this issue is cultural. I live in close proximity to Mexico where dog fighting is considered a sport. But this issue isn’t just ethnic…the desire to own a fighting dog crosses all socio-economic and cultural boundaries, making it difficult to affect change. Right now a Pit Bull is a status symbol, especially for young boys and men.
Many animal rescuers concentrate on neighborhoods where animals are considered property in the hope that they can teach the people to get their animals spayed and neutered (for free if they’re Pits); how to properly care for their animals; and they watch for signs of fighting and game dogs. The children are our best hope though, but since they’re taken to fights at an early age, the problem continues generation after generation.
My hope for this new year is that fewer animals will know abuse; that fewer animals will be born; that more people will know that animals are not property; that more people will know that animals are sentient beings with feelings; and that more animals will find loving, forever homes; and that fewer animals will be killed due to overpopulation.
Happy New Year everyone! Here’s to 2009 being the best year ever!!