On Saturday, Pacificans were treated to a “dog day afternoon” of sorts when hosted a meet and greet with pit bulls and their owners. Most of the dogs on hand were rescued from Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation, often referred to as the “Bad Newz Kennels.”
The event raised money for Oakland-based non-profit organization BADRAP, the group that rescued Michael Vick’s former pit bulls, and it also promoted Philadelphia-based portrait photographer Melissa McDaniel’s new book, “Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs – 82 Dogs the Media Doesn’t Want You to Meet”.
Free doggie “autographs” (paw prints) were given with every purchase of the book, which sold out within the first 2 hours of the event.
AnnaBee’s Boutique owner Maureen Murray was thrilled to showcase the sweet side of pit bulls, a breed she first came to love after adopting her own pit bull, AnnaBee, who passed away a few years ago.
As visitors to AnnaBee’s entered the door, many were greeted by pit bull Jonny Justice and treated to a display of his many tricks. Jonny, an extremely playful and cheerful dog, was adopted by longtime BADRAP volunteer and San Francisco resident Cris Cohen.
Jonny is quite the distinguished pit bull, as evidenced by his own business cards, which Cohen shared with the crowd. The cards include a link to the BADRAP website with an explanation of Jonny’s journey from the “Bad Newz Kennels” to his current life, in which “he is usually found doing educational work and presentations for the public.”
“Jonny is such a sweet little guy,” said Cohen, who also owns 12-year-old Lily, another BADRAP-rescued pit bull. “He’s an endearing, happy dog.”
Joining Jonny were two other “Bad Newz” pit bulls, Teddles and Uba, also both males. At the time of rescue, Teddles had never fought other dogs though he had been featured with Michael Vick on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine.
Cohen explained that BADRAP is a very tight-knit group, run mostly by volunteers who not only provide dog training and professional consultations, but also foster pit bulls that are in need of adoptive families.
According to BADRAP Co-Founder and Executive Director Donna Reynolds, who was on hand throughout the afternoon, BADRAP set a precedent for criminal cases that involve pit bulls and other dogs raised specifically to fight.
“Until the Michael Vick case, fighting dogs were usually held as evidence and not given any compassion as living animals,” said Reynolds. That changed when BADRAP pleaded with the prosecutor in the case and eventually received permission to rescue and rehabilitate the animals.
In addition to the three former “Bad Newz” pups were Sydney, a female pit bull and survivor of Hurricane Katrina who was accompanied by her owner, Katie Moyer, and Dinah, a BADRAP pit bull saved from the Hayward Animal Shelter who was abused by her former owners.
AnnaBee’s Boutique plans to quickly restock copies of “Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs – 82 Dogs the Media Doesn’t Want You to Meet”. If you missed the event but still want to donate to BADRAP, you can do so at AnnaBee's Boutique or via the BADRAP website.