Bully Breed Rescue Fights for Misunderstood Breed

Adoption event and fundraiser draws a crowd at Best Friends Pet Care in Norwalk

Over the decades, the pit bull breed has gone in and out of fashion. Nicknamed "the nanny dog" through the early 1900s, they have garnered a bad rap of late. That said, it always helps to have a popular friend.

Enter New Canaan-based Bully Breed Rescue (BBR). With a whopping 22,000 Facebook friends, they're good friends to have.

On Sunday at Best Friends Pet care in Norwalk, a dozen BBR dogs got to meet potential adoptors, and guests had their dogs photographed by the talented Geoffrey Tischman. BBR vice president Heidi Lueders and her fleet of voluteers shepherded the dogs, coordinated a raffle and sold BBR logo gear.

Each BBR dog had a unique story not always suitable for the faint of heart, though hearts were won over. In fact, the event was originally scheduled before Valentine's Day, but snowstorm Nemo pushed it back a week.

Lucky "Seven" and Sweet "Mama"
"Seven," who is being fostered by Brittany Clahane of Norwalk, has recovered beautifully from two broken legs after presumably being hit by a car. BBR took Seven in and nursed her back to health. Clahane says Seven gets along with her other dog, also a pit mix, and has adjusted nicely to family life.

Along with her pit bull, Clahane recently relocated to Norwalk from a town near Jersey City, New Jersey. Clahane described how strangers would approach her. "They'd say, 'She's beautiful, could we set her up with ours and breed them?' Ewww," she said. "You know they probably wanted to sell them [the puppies] into dog fighting."

Elaborating on her transition to Fairfield County, Clahane said that although she senses more awareness of the breed here, it is tough to find a landlord who will rent to a tenant with a pit bull, much less two or three.

For Clahane, fostering Seven is a compromise since she is not in a position to adopt a second dog. "If you can find a landlord who will rent to you with a pit bull, I recommend getting it in writing in your lease, in case they change their minds. Landlords in multi-family homes are more likely to have an open mind," she said. "They don't want the liability. It's a matter of information and education."

Across the room from Seven was Mama, profiled recently in BBR's Patch blog. Estimated to be one- or two-years old, Mama also won over many hearts and minds. Previously used as a bait dog for dog fighting, Mama was bred repeatedly. BBR volunteer Anthony Zinicola, said that these days Mama is sweet and friendly, and just wants to sit in someone's lap.

Frat Boy, Fred
And then there was young Fred, whose his foster mom, OPIN volunteer Isabel Morales, described as a frat boy. "His personality trait is that he just doesn't get stressed. Whatever comes, comes." According to Morales, whose group OPIN is affiliated with Stamford Animal Control, Fred enjoys being part of her frat of two beagles, a chow chow, a shepherd mix and another pit bull.

Rocksis and Jax
One crate over from Fred was "Rocksis," approximately five, who was pulled by Lueders from a shelter in Manhattan along with four other dogs in dire straits. Rocksis, who is super calm, would be an ideal match for someone who wants a couch potato and an eager lap dog. Rocksis' best trick is giving a new friend a kiss, doing a pirouette and sitting down in their lap.

And then there was "Jax," an American Bulldog, pit-mix, who bears no signs of the neglect in his past. Left behind by owners who moved away, Jax was found at the end of a chain attached to a backyard doghouse when BBR arrived. Jax had been left behind with nothing but with a bowl of green water. Today he is neutered, vaccinated, micro-chipped and ready for adoption.

Superman aka "Drake," wears his cape under his pajamas
Dapper in his Valentine heart pajama top was Drake, pulled by BBR from a high-kill shelter in Manhattan. BBR's Chris Antolini has fostered Drake in her home for the past year and reports that in addition to enjoying his recliner, Drake has a secret. "We call him Superman because he really can fly." Factoring in Drake's stubby shape, one needs to witness this feat to believe it.

Anyone interested in learning about adopting or fostering a dog from BBR should email adoptions@bullybreedrescueinc.org  Bully Breed Rescue can be found on Facebook or at their website, bullybreedrescueinc.org

Bully Breed Rescue February 18, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Thanks so much Leslie! And thank you to all who came out to support BBR and our dogs - we had so much fun yesterday!
Leslie Yager February 18, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Watched Drake "flying" on YouTube a dozen times. Priceless. All the dogs are super heroes.
Tina Aronson February 18, 2013 at 04:19 PM
What a great event-Bully Breed's volunteers are so devoted and helpful, and their dogs fabulous-let's get these cuties adopted!!!! Thanks for a super day!
Charlene February 18, 2013 at 04:20 PM
I'm sorry you were attacked. Its not the breed of the dog, its the way it was raised. You can't stereo type a dog just as you can't stereo type an ethnicity or race. Its also cheap and crass that you attack these rescuers, if you don't want to own a pitbull then don't.
Amy Ross February 18, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Lisa - I am sorry for what you went through that must have been horrible. I have rescued 6 pits in my lifetime and I was attacked walking my pitbull by 2 standard poodles. My dog couldn't defend himself and was badly wounded and his ear ripped in two. Attacks can happen with all the different breeds. Not ALL pit bulls are bad just like people. Again, sorry for your experience but to say disparaging things about a dog rescue group that has saved animals for cruel conditions/situations and made many households happy with companions just shows you really are living as a victim and blaming others for what THOSE particular dogs did. I am not trying to be mean to you in any way just want to shed light on the fact that your terrible experience has lead you to hate the entire breed and people who save dogs. I don't hate standard poodles for what happened to me and my pit. I don't blame poodle rescues or the breed it was the owner of THOSE 2 dogs who was irresponsible. I wish you well.
Margaret Callahan February 18, 2013 at 04:38 PM
I do not appreciate being called a 'dangerous idiot.' The one time I was bitten was on the ankle by a little gray poodle who was loose in the road when I was riding my bike.
Amy Ross February 18, 2013 at 04:41 PM
Rock on BBR keep spreading love not hate. I will continue to support you! Thank you for bringing awareness to animal cruelty no matter what anyone thinks of this breed they are animals... we need more kindness to all animals in the world.
Lisa Bolin February 18, 2013 at 04:45 PM
I apologize for my unkind remarks but hope you can understand the emotion. The fact is that there are two pit bulls on my dead end street of 13 homes. One pit bull killed a neighbor's dog, and one nearly killed my dog and severely injured me. Please don't try to argue that this breed does not present a danger. My neighbors and I are prisoners, afraid to walk our street because these dogs still get loose and there is nothing we can do about it. I pray none of you ever experience the terror of a pit bull mauling. And by the way, my dog was a shelter rescue so I obviously have nothing against responsible rescue organizations.
Amy Ross February 18, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Lisa - Sounds like the owners are the problem. Not containing your dogs and not taking responsibility is a huge problem. Again, any dog can be dangerous my step son was attacked by a large Shepard who wasn't contained. Because pitbulls "look" scary, are strong and can be trained easily bad people can take advantage of their loyalty and they get the bad rap for being trained to do so. Thanks for at least considering the discussion. I have seen what you describe but another breed not pitbull so I get it. It's scary for sure. If you need help with these neighbors I would seek it. No one should live in fear like that.
Lisa Bolin February 18, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Here's the thing, Amy. Pitbulls "attack" differently than any other breed. It is why cruel people choose them to be fighters. You can easily google that info. And unfortunately victims have no recourse. Animal control and the police won't help. We're stuck. I wish people who rescue these dogs would try to understand the other side of the story.
KerriAnn Hofer February 18, 2013 at 05:23 PM
lisa, i'm so sorry that you have had such terrible experiences with pit bulls. but please don't blame all pit bull-type dogs because of a few poorly-trained dogs in your neighborhood. my dog (a boxer-pit mix) has been bit twice in the face -- once my a maltese and once by a cocker spaniel. she did not bite back. many pit bull-type dogs are therapy-certified and many more have passed their Canine Good Citizen tests. are their some unsafe or poorly trained dogs out there? undoubtedly. but they come in all sizes, colors and breeds. again, i am sorry about your experiences and hope that someday you meet a pit bull that changes your mind (and heart).
KerriAnn Hofer February 18, 2013 at 05:42 PM
while pit bulls are often described as 'fearless' and appear to have a higher tolerance for physical pain, they do not 'attack' differently nor do they have any special powers (their jaws do not 'lock' as many people incorrectly believe). many people in my neighborhood were also concerned about a dog that often got out of her yard -- she was not a pit bull -- but i do know how frustrating it is to not feel safe walking around your neighborhood. would you feel any more safe if the dog in question was the same size, but a different breed? your problem is not unique to one breed -- any dog can pose a danger when not properly trained or contained. why make this about only pit bulls?
Leslie Yager February 18, 2013 at 05:51 PM
"Seven's" foster mom Brittany Clahane got her pit bull his Canine Good Citizen certification before she went looking for an apartment. It helped her in her search for a rental apartment. Any dog owner in a similar predicament might consider that good advice.
KerriAnn Hofer February 18, 2013 at 05:57 PM
i'm trying to understand the 'other side of the story.' here is a group of dedicated people who are rescuing dogs from cruel or neglectful conditions, thus removing them from potentially dangerous situations. they are training and evaluating them and then placing them into carefully selected homes. how is that not a good thing for society as a whole? what part am i missing?
Lisa Bolin February 18, 2013 at 06:00 PM
KerriAnn you could not be more wrong. All dog attacks are not equal. I'm just guessing, but I suspect you are very young, very naive, and facts scare you.
KerriAnn Hofer February 18, 2013 at 06:08 PM
lisa, this is the second time you have tried to insult others on this comment stream. enough said. i'm out.
Charlene February 18, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Lisa you could not be more wrong. You savagely attack people that are dedicated professionals, rescuing dogs from cruel and/or neglectful conditions. These same people seek out homes and families for these animals that match a certain criteria. They don't just let any dog go to any home. Maybe its time for you to look at the other side of the story and maybe you should do a little research. Or are you very old, set in your stubborn ways and facts scare you.
Tina Aronson February 18, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Lisa, I usually do not like to enter in on a stream that is an argument, and you obviously will not change your opinion on pit bulls after what happened to you, and for that I am sorry. Again as Kerriann, who is NOT naive, stated "any dog can pose a danger" is so true. The dogs under the pit bull umbrella seem to get singled out because of their numbers and the media. I have been working with pits in rescue and have the amazing pleasure of owning and fostering 2 at this time. I have never come across a pit that I have been fearful of and I have come across a lot of them. On the other hand, I have bitten by other breeds small and large,...again none of which were a bully breed! Please blame the owners of these dogs, not the dogs themselves. It is the irresponsible people who own these dogs who give them the bad wrap, not the dogs themselves. Pit bulls are inherently sweet and loyal and by the way, make awful watch dogs as they are super friendly!
Chandra Johnson Greene February 18, 2013 at 06:41 PM
A comment has been deleted from this thread because it violates Patch's Terms of Use. Please refrain from insulting others. Thanks!
Isabel Morales February 18, 2013 at 06:46 PM
I am a fan of responsible & educated dog owners all around. All breeds have specific qualities & characteristics. The fact is that whatever you own, you're responsible for your dog's behavior and it's on you to learn about your specific dog's personality & dog behavior in general to keep him safe from others, and from himself. Whether you have 1 dog or 5, like me (1 Shepherd X, 1 ChowChow X, 2 Beagles, 1 Pit), you need to realize that not all dogs are friendly to other dogs (just like not all humans are friendly to other humans) and that when a fight/attack/incident happens, it's not out of the blue. Dogs, small & big, have a "dog language". They send messages with their eyes, their tails, their barks, their lips, their stands, their body, etc. We humans, are almost always oblivious to these messages that sometimes equate to insults to dogs passing by or living a block away. When something happens, you have to look at the circumstances from the dogs' point of view, and put the responsibility where it lays, with the owners - all owners. After all, it was humans who "domesticated" dogs and have them living among us. We forget they're still animals with instincts & behaviors that most people don't know exist or don't care to understand. I feel for any dog & owner involved in a violent incident (my Pit included - attacked by a German Shepherd) but the fact remains, it is the responsibility of the owners involved and it is always situation specific, not breed specific.
Amy Ross February 18, 2013 at 07:55 PM
I cannot agree Lisa. I have done research extensivly on these dogs. I would never put my family in harms way. I am a responsible dog own and take full ownership of my dogs actions. If my dog ever attacked you or your dogs I would take responsibility for it. I appreciate you speaking up though and I do see your point of view as I stated I have worn your shoes. But I would be doing all I could to understand what the hell is going on with the dogs down the street. I do not beleive the police wouldn't help you. It's simply unheard of in Norwalk for anyone to be attacked and then it not being reported especially if a dog was killed. You had to have gone to a vet, the hopital yourself something. It's a law that dog bites are reported to the police. They would quarenteen the dogs and review the owners responisbility in the situation. Something is missing from the story.
Leslie Yager February 19, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Thanks Chandra for deleting the comment. Name-calling isn't constructive. I think many commenters have compassion for Lisa who said her dog was attacked by neighbor's vicious dog. I know if that had happened on my street that animal control would be all over that situation. What happened when you called A.C., Lisa?
James M Morales February 19, 2013 at 04:44 AM
I like the information on how to save money on pet deposits & cleaning fees also had step by step instructions on how to fix pet odors odorbully.com


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