The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), working in conjunction with Best Friends Animal Society announces its new Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls Project, with funding support from PetSmart Charities®. The project is designed to encourage responsible pet guardianship and reduce euthanasia of pit bull terriers and similar-type dogs, as well as strive to improve the public’s perception of this type of dog.
The project is made possible through a $240,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, and along with additional support from Best Friends, the funds will also support pilot programs at shelters in four other cities across the country.
This partnership was formed to raise public awareness about the pit bull terrier breed of dog and to promote adoptions of the hundreds of pit bull terriers surrendered at BARCS each month.
BARCS, the largest companion animal shelter in Maryland, takes in more than 11,000 animals each year. Their mission is to provide a sanctuary for homeless animals and promote a more humane community.
The project will be a center of information on pit bull terriers in the Baltimore area, educating the public and providing community outreach services such as free or low cost spay/neuter in partnership with the Maryland SPCA, as well as providing more playtime and learning opportunities for shelter dogs, adoption events, marketing support and training at BARCS.
An important component of the program will be a dynamic group of volunteers called, “BARCS Pit Crew,” a group that will assist with dog training, dog-walking, adoption events, photography, marketing and public education. The Pit Crew is recruiting people who have a strong love for the pit bull terrier and similar-type dogs and are willing to help to get these lovable, loyal dogs adopted into forever homes.
BARCS’ shelter coordinator for the project, Lisa Morabito will manage all project activities and work with the public to decrease the percentage of pit bull terrier type dogs euthanized at BARCS, as well as increase adoptions. Her goal is to decrease euthanasia by 10 percent from last year’s rate.
Morabito also plans to create frequent media opportunities to show the positive side of pit bull-type dogs to counter the image often presented in the news. She plans a series of cute, clever monthly adoption promotions, such as the recent Pit Bulls in Pajamas and the upcoming Prince and Princess Pit Bulls of the Ball. A Million Mutt March is in the works for late next month.
“I am here to support BARCS’ efforts to place more dogs by getting them more media attention, creating more adoption events, bringing Humane Education to local schools and educating the community about responsible dog ownership at local resource fairs,” Morabito said.
The project also creates partnerships between Best Friends Animal Society and shelters in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Washington, D.C., Carlsbad, Calif. and Tampa, Fla. The program’s cities were selected from among 20 city-applicants for the year-long pilot program.
Modeled after the very successful partnership between Best Friends and Salt Lake County Animal Services that began in July 2009, the Utah effort increased the save rate of pit bull-type dogs from 57 percent to 71 percent in its first year, and doubled the number of these dogs adopted from the previous year.
“As with any dog that is loved, spayed or neutered, properly trained, and socialized, pit bull terriers are happy and affectionate members of the family,” says Jamie Healy, Shelter Partners for Pit Bulls manager. “It’s the person on the other end of the leash who decides if their dog is a good canine citizen.”
Best Friends Animal Society works to help pit bull-type dogs through its national pit bull terrier initiative which helps dogs who are battling everything from a sensationalized reputation to legislation designed to bring about their extinction. The campaign’s goal is to end discrimination against all dogs–because they are individuals and should be treated as such.
Best Friends works with humane groups all across the country to bring about a time when there are No More Homeless Pets®.
Best Friends Animal Society is a nonprofit organization building no-kill programs and partnerships that will bring about a day when there are No More Homeless Pets®. The society's leading initiatives in animal care and community programs are coordinated from its Kanab, Utah, headquarters, the country's largest no-kill sanctuary. This work is made possible by the personal and financial support of a grassroots network of supporters and community partners across the nation.
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