Saturday, March 28, 2009

Talking shop with Donna

LADY and SPIRIT and ARIEL and GHANDI and EMILY and HOMIE want to say we think you guys are they best thing since - umm - roller skates. So. Here's looking at you guys.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Facing Peta and Talking (Shelter) Shop - New England in April!
Like any good pit bull centric activist, I can't look at the civil rights movement without drawing direct parallels between these historic struggles and those faced by the pit bull owners and BSL fighters of today. I really needed a little shot of SF-style activism last week and watching 'Milk' offered up the best boost in awhile. Harvey reminds everyone who struggles that "Hope is never silent," making a bigger statement is more important than winning smaller battles, and counting yourself as a proud member of your community is the best way to demystify a perceived threat in our all-too-often paranoid society.
Harvey also had Anita Bryant, who was so very helpful in galvanizing the LGBT rights movement back in the 70's and in illustrating just how freaky-deeky fear mongers can be. God bless Anita for being such a hateful little bee-yotch. We love ya, hon.

"If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters." -Anita Bryant

...and pit bull owners! don't forget rights for people who sleep with pit bulls!
For our own inspiration, pit bull people have any number of vocal haters to bounce off of in this new century. Like, Ohio's Punish-the-breed Tom Skeldon (Skeldon update from KC Dog Blog) and Denver's own Kill-em-All Kory Nelson. But my favorite hater is PeTA. Their stance against pit bull shelter adoptions works through my veins like a triple-shot latte on an empty stomach and it's helped fuel up some of our best efforts to make things better for the pit bulls in our corners. I still owe PeTA a personal thank you.
I set out to 'debate' PeTA's shelter policy with Ingrid Newkirk back in 2006 at the HSUS expo general session, but she begged out the very last minute and I was left to banter with a pre-recorded DVD, which was essentially a large talking head of Ingrid waxing on about chickens among other not-so relevant talking points. I was seriously confused by that fast hour+, and so were the 900-some people in the audience.

Tim and Leslie met up with her later during this infamous book signing in a scruffy Berkeley bookstore. Nice - but not quite the audience we were looking for. Now! we can look forward to another opp to discuss our favorite topic with PeTA, this time in New Hampshire at an upcoming animal welfare conference. I'll be part of a panel discussion that looks at pb issues, including shelter adoptions and rescuing bust victims, and am fortunate to be joining Barbara Haysis, director of the Thomas J. O’Connor AC and Adoption Center and - Yay! - PETA spokesperson Daphna Nachminovitch.

"But it is important to bear in mind that nice families rarely come to a shelter seeking pit bulls. The vast majority of people who want pit bulls are attracted to the “macho” image of the breed as a living weapon and seek to play up this image by putting the animals in heavy chains; kicking, beating, and otherwise abusing them into aggression; and leaving them outside in all weather extremes in order to “toughen” them up." from PeTA's website
Another session will be devoted to - solutions! - on the topic of creating 'Successful Sheltering for Pit Bulls.'

I'll be outlining lessons learned from our work with various shelters including our new focus at open intake Oakland Animal Services. Marianne Gasbarrohas of the ever-progressive Animal Rescue League of Boston will take the reins next and discuss their methods for matching pit bulls to new homes.

The topic will unfold even further with a segment from the cool-as-a cucumber Berenice Clifford of Animal Farm Foundation, who will be detailing tips for kennel enrichment and keeping high energy dogs happy during their wait.

Good stuff. I sure hope some of our east coast rescue and shelter friends can join us for all or part..

2009 New England Federation Humane Society Annual Conference:
April 27-29 in Manchester, NH

Above: Pure thuggery. Chuy and gal pal Alex not only came to the Oakland Animal Shelter to adopt a pit bull (the ever macho red-caped Bob, to be exact), but ... They. Won't. Go. Away. Both have signed on to be volunteers and are frequently spotted walking dogs, educating the public, socializing rabbits and - gasp! - loving up on all kinds of shelter pit bulls as part of our Bully Crew Team. THUGS, I tellya! Sphere: Related Content

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