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« Lies, damn lies and statistics | Main | Best Cities for Dogs, Part 2 »

June 06, 2007



The inner city demand for pit bull type dogs and purse dogs is something that is difficult to understand. Of course the purse dogs are not making the news, but I have had several conversations with folks who talk about various types of dogs being “worth a lot of money.” Recently at the Troost Festival I spoke with a man who had a toy poodle. We were talking about rescue and all the dogs that are in shelters. He was shocked by this and concerned, but he honestly did not believe that there were little dogs available for adoption. He had paid $500 for his purse dog and said next time he’d look at rescue, although as Brent said I doubt he would be approved. Similarly I met a woman who bought a greyhound off the track and was breeding it because people in her neighborhood wanted puppies. One thing is for sure we do not need any more greyhounds. But again, I doubt her neighbors would be approved.

Standard rescue requirements are fences, owning your own home or getting approval and support from a landlord, having a good reference from your veterinary, and having steady employment. There is a reason behind each of these standards; they are designed to prevent a revolving door of dogs, but all too often we see dogs returned from wealthy homes where the dog simply did not quite fit into their lifestyle.

In my dream world we’d offer adoption opportunities where the fee was waived, the owner was given training support for several years, there was a vet care fund for poor families, and food was readily available. The standards would include: commitment to basic care and keeping the dog indoors (at least at night).

Through Pit Bull University and low-cost animal health services with Spay Neuter Kansas City we’ve gotten to know some dog owners who fit into my dream world vision. They love their dogs, but just do not have basic knowledge about care. For instance there have been several people who now keep their dog inside because they know that if they want a dog to protect their family in an emergency the dog needs to be socialized as a part of the family. I’ve never really understood how useful a dog chained to the front porch was at deterring crime; doesn’t that leave the back porch and interior wide-open?

I am hopeful that Pit Bull U and Spay Neuter Kansas City are the baby steps towards my dream world. I have no grand solutions to offer, but I think the first step is for the animal welfare community to realize that since we’ve essentially red-lined the inner city for dog adoptions we are compounding the problem.

Brent thanks for bringing this topic up.


Man, do I wish there was an answer to this!

Abby, your 'dream world' sounds like what The Pet Connection was doing some months ago...I don't know if they are still doing it though.

They don't have an adoption fee, don't have any hurdles necessarily (ie. rules for accepting apps) other than interviews designed to ascertain if adopter truly understands and lives 'forever home' and 'family pet', they mandate training - both for the dog and owner and I believe they have the ability to offer vetting discounts (I know they can actually do low cost vaccs there).

I felt it was genious policy when Melody launched it, but I haven't been in touch for a while, so I have no idea how it's going. I do know that she took A LOT of flack from the rescue community over it. Her justification was for the same oxymoron Brent brings up in this blog posting. When someone comes to you sincerely wanting to adopt a pet, and there is a revolving door that never stops of pets coming to you that need a have to do all you can to match that potential adopter with a pet otherwise, they will buy from a breeder.

I've started to socialize with, how do I put this w/o offending?, "regular dog owners" (ie. dog owners outside the rescue/aw world) and it's amazing to me to see/hear their reactions when I mention the pet overpopulation problem (breed aside). Many of them have the same reaction as the toy poodle guy "I didn't know they (their breed of choice) are available to rescue"...

...Like Brent, I don't have an answer, but somethings got to give. I think TPC's approach is a start...

Casey Martinez

An ex-coworker of mine, who is black & lives in South KC, emailed me a couple of weeks ago saying that he had been to the Pet Expo and was turned down for adopting a dog because his fence was not complete. He had not given up and was going to PETCO the coming weekend. He emailed me the next week and said he was turned down by another group because of the fence and that his wife had found a $100.00 coupon for PETLAND and that they were going to go buy a puppy!! He has no clue about puppymils, etc & I did email him to inform him but I will notblame him if he went ahead with the pet store purchase. He is exactly who Brent is talking about in this blog and has the potential to be a very good pet owner.

Dianne Singer

It's not just "pit bulls", it's the pocket and "designer" dogs that puppy millers churn out, all of the dogs produced as though the bitches were ATMs.
Does the world need a Bassador, a basset hound/lab cross? What physical problems will that crossbreed have?
It's a social problem, worship and pursuit of the almighty dollar without regard for the consequences.


I think certain rescue people put a lot of bad ideas into a lot of people's heads when it comes to adopting out pit bulls and that mostly, only BAD people want them. Really folks, do you think someone is going to pay $100+ to adopt an altered pit bull/any breed for a bait dog? How many puppies have been saved from a crackhead for $10? And I don't get who is buying all these pit puppies in the hood when we just rescued 5 red/blue fawn a couple of months ago because no one would take them?! We had to ship them out of state...

Since when is death better than a less than ideal home? These folks are then buying UN-altered dogs that they may or MAY NOT get altered in time to prevent another litter. I'm sure the guy we saw at the vet last week with the blue brindle he bought because no one would adopt to him, will be more than tempted to at least make his money back from her.


Hi. I just want to say that I recently tried to adopt a pit and was denied before ever getting a phone call to ask me more specific questions. I live in the country in the middle of the state. MABBR, I believe is the organization. I have had pit before and REALLY want another one and can't seem to get anywhere. I would rather have a pup, though. After being denied in such a way, I am resorting to looking on the internet for other available pups. Whether it be a breeder or individual. I would rather have helped the cause instead of having to hinder.
If you know of any such pups, let me know.


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My family spent two months trying to adopt a pit, the obsticals were far to great for an average family who just wants to help the problem. When we finally found "Spencer" he tryed to attack our 7 year old daughter and the lady who has had him for two years.Adopting older pits with young kids is foolish and dangerous. We learned the hard way.


Ronnie, that's really frustrating. I know a lot of people that have had a lot of difficulty trying to adopt. It shouldn't be that hard.

As for the dog attacking your daughter, that's horrible, I hope she is ok. Most shelter dogs are great dogs and I'd recommend them for anyone -- however, there are certain things in their history sometimes that are unknown that make them difficult. I have one that was hit by a car (that's actually how we got her was she was laying in a bloody heap on the side of the road with a broken leg from being hit by the car) and she's a great dog -- but gets skittish if she walks on the road side during our walks and hate bicycles. If you adopted her, you'd never know that...

The only major bite I've incurred in my life was from a Chow mix that had once had an owner that would put a rubber band around its mouth to keep it from barking...and I made a movement that it interpreted as moving to put a rubber band around its mouth and it bit me. I had no idea...


Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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