How Can We Save More Pitbulls in NC’s Largest City?
January 31, 2011
An Examiner article looks at the recent case of 13 Pitbulls that were surrendered by the owner to Charlotte-Mecklenburg AC & C and immediately killed. The author mentions the popularity of Pitbulls as pets in Charlotte and the lack of options for those rescued:
Sadly, many of the dogs that are rescued do not find their way into homes because most dog-owning homes in the area already have a Pit bull.
Wait, what? While there certainly are myriad challenges facing rescued Pitbulls in the Charlotte area, to my knowledge, this isn’t one of them. The main challenge comes from the county policy prohibiting the adoption of Pitbulls from Char-Meck AC & C. Strays of any breed, including Pitbulls, must be held at the shelter for 3 days which makes it necessary to vaccinate all Pitbulls on intake, even though most will be killed. Taxpayers spend about $12,000 a year on vaccinations for Pitbulls who end up in the wheelbarrow of the kill room at CMPD-ACC. In addition, the shelter further devalues the breed in the public’s eyes through oops-killings followed by the promise of a thorough investigation, followed by tumbleweeds and coyote howls.
Then there is the issue of rescue:
A very small percentage of pit bulls are spared whenever there’s room for them with an approved rescue group, which can screen applicants more thoroughly.
But Rhonda Thomas, who runs Project Halo, said it’s not easy.
“I love the breed, but finding a good home for a pit bull has always been a challenge for us,” she said.
That’s the nature of rescue – handling the challenge of finding the right home for your pets, regardless of breed.
She said many people who want to adopt pit bulls aren’t the type who should adopt them.
Oh. Uh-oh. My Potential Pisser Ahead light is flashing.
“In the 12 years I’ve been doing this, I’ve placed two.”
Aw, crud. So I guess the right “type” of Pitbull adopter only comes along once every 6 years or so. Or maybe it’s just that every dog owner in Charlotte already has a Pitbull. I can’t keep track.
At any rate, even if advocates convinced the county to change its policy on banning Pitbull adoptions from the shelter, many of the dogs would end up in the wheelbarrow anyway since Char-Meck kills more pets than it saves. And though I hope the rescue rep quoted above is not typical, I think it is generally true that we need more education and outreach to help “iffy” adopters cross over into “good” adopters. And as always, less judgment, more understanding. Most pet owners want to do right by their pets and even if they do things differently than you or I, are still deserving of adopting a pet. Rescues and shelters who maintain ridiculously high standards simply drive adopters to other sources for pets and sour the possibility of future adoptions.
Since we know the status quo is a fail, let’s think in terms of change. What changes would have the greatest positive impact on Pitbulls in the Charlotte area?