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« Merry Christmas from my Gang | Main | Attack on Denver Pit Bull Ban continues »

December 26, 2008



Well put.
Many have tried to make this out as if it was a simple mathematical calculation of $1,000,000 divided by 47 dogs=~$21,276 but it was so much more as you have pointed out.

It has opened the public`s eyes that these dogs,the dogs yet to be rescued and dogs presently in good homes are individuals just like ANY other dogs.

And if BSL continues and the thugs and the wannabe thugs turn to other Breeds/types and they have to be rescued it will give the new victims hope after rescue.

And frankly if you add up the costs of having a dog in your life,you`d be getting off easy at $21,000 over the lifetime of the dog if you add up just food and standard yearly Vet care.
Add in some extras and some Emerg Vet care and you`ll be well over the $20,000 mark.

This rescue gives the Public a chance to see their "worst nightmare" as portrayed by the Media being just family dogs and also showing that some have the ability to become Therapy dogs and maybe some high performance athletes.
That`s quite an accomplishment for ANY dog.

Dogs can`t fake it for the cameras.
Vick can act like Mr Goody 2 shoes in front of the cameras and in court.
These dogs can`t.


It definitely has focused attention on the correct end of the leash and away from where it has traditionally has been. Well worth its cost if you look at it from a marketing and educational standpoint. A phenomenal bang for the buck. Do we own Michael Vick a big thank you for being such an idiot? He has unintentionally done more for opening the public's eyes to the plight of the pit bull than any marketing campaign could have dreamed for. For that I am thankful.


I agree. The PR from the Vick case is worth every penny because the truth is priceless and it's getting out there at last.

Furthermore, Vick paid for it, so it's not as though any shelter donations were used.

Some people think donating to animal charities or even spending money on pets is a waste. You know the types, "People are dying in Africa" blah blah blah. I'll bet you dollars to dog biscuits that these people don't donate anything to charity themselves and probably have way more expensive interests as well, such as golf, travelling, etc. Maybe they've had bypass surgery at around $100K+ - money that could have been spent on someone more 'worthy', perhaps?

The amount determined was in case the dogs had to be sheltered for life, anyway, and we know it costs around $1,500 a year to keep a dog assuming no major emergencies arise, such as cruciate surgery at about $3,000.

Thanks to BadRap and Best Friends, a lot of dogs got adopted out so they were welcome to 'keep the change' in my opinion to use to help other dogs. And the media coverage? Cheaper than a commercial on the Super Bowl.

Robert Garnett

If a dog is hit by a car an a shelter puts out a call for a special fun to pay the medical bills few if anyone questions whether it is worth the expense.But if the dog has a behavioural problem(no matter the breed)people question whether the time or money should be spent.It's akin to the stigma attached to human mental illness of the past.It's the old Sue Sternberg philosophy that there are so many excess animals that don't waste your time on these "problem" cases.This another example of where the animal community has lost its way. Where animals are not considered equally important pit bull types being the most exploited of all. SPCA's an other groups must reprove to the public that they are concerned about all animal and will do everything in their power to save them.


Marc, it's more than just the marketing (although that's obviously become a nice piece of it). I think even bigger is that it has shown the rescue community what can happen when dogs in these situations are given a chance. When given a chance, they thrive.

For too long, the shelter community has believed the HSUS/PETA policy lines that pit bulls from bad situations had to be euthanized. They don't. And these dogs have proven that. Killing them no longer has to be, or should be, the answer.


Brent, you rock. Thanks for saying what so many of us, I hope, were thinking. This is not an issue of where our dollars went- it was a question of where our hearts were. Thanks for all your great work.


Thanks for this, Brent.

A little known fact: The feds had us sign a document stating that we would absorb the dogs with out without restitution. A wise move on their part since Vick's bank account was going downhill fast and no one knew for sure if he would actually cough up for the dogs in the end. To his credit, he did.

Another little known fact: While HSUS ran to the bank with big funds donated "to help the dogs," the initial rescue nearly broke us. We had to borrow from volunteers to get the dogs home and pay for Nicole's six week stay in VA. Rebecca Huss's parents sent us a check when they learned from her how broke this thing was making us since they knew that we couldn't fundraise and restitution was weeks away, if at all.

It didn't matter. Any of the rescuers involved would've sold their cars to fund this rescue - it was THAT important to the broader message that you're talking about Brent.

I can't speak for all the rescue orgs, but while the Vick rescue took front burner, we all continued to take dogs from local shelters. No local dogs died to save these expensive dogs from out of state. A few of our foster homes doubled and tripled up their homes with crates so nobody lost out. It was important to keep the home fires burning - and it was a hec of a lot easier to re-socialize the dogs with extras around! (We did take a little break in early summer though before moving in Oakland Animal Services because we were flat exhausted.)

I think Vick cleaned up a lot of his karma by saying Yes to his dogs' rescue...and I'm really glad that he paid up since his little dogs' knees are falling apart! Audie just had double-surgery so he can be fit enough for the agility circuit.

The critics of this case can bite my big white butt. There was no way on earth history was going to write those high-profile dogs off as hopeless killers.

By the way, Ken Foster just had the marvelous idea of using this latest SI issue in humane education programs around the country. We gotta work on that.

Onward ho.


Brent said, 'If that message gets heard loud and clear across the entire country - -and changes minds - -then it was worth every penny, every hour and every tear'.

Absolutely. This story, from start to finish, teaches the GP and SHOULD be teaching every single city council about 1000 times more than any presentation could possibly teach.

Critics be damned. It is worth a lot more than the amount of money dumped into sports, sports arenas, movies, and most of the worthless crap we dump our money on. It is worth all the money in the world!

As for the dogs themselves, there is no way to name a price on their lives.

It is a crying shame that cities and governments do not see fit to give these rescues a lot of money and a lot of help for all the work they are doing. These rescues are truly benefiting not only dogs' welfare, but everyone's.


these dogs used to never have a chance. I once volunteered at an animal shelter, and when a "pit bull" or anything looking of it came in, he/she would be placed in a back room. Kept in isolation, in a locked room, where they couldn't be seen. They would be kept there for their 5-7 day hold, until they were euthanized. Those dogs being kept hidden away prevented them from possibly catching someones eye, and finding a home. Just because of their breed.

So was it worth to save the 47 dogs? OF COURSE.

Not only did it save their lives, but also hundreds of other shelter animals around the nation! People are now allowing them to actually have a chance..

It also saved plenty of lives of pits that already have a home. Like mine! The media, whether good, or bad, generally dictates which way my city falls on BSL. If not for the wonderful success of these dogs, i could have had my pit taken away and destroyed.

It is because of those 47 dogs, being rescued, rehibilitated, and rehomed, that saves the lives of so many others.


Kara, sounds like you worked at the KCMO shelter, or one just like it. They keep their pit bull-type dogs in a secret back room, and don't adopt any out. We even had to pressure them to let us look back there when my sister's pit mix ran away, they initially told us there were no other dogs in the building, even though we could hear them barking. They had whole litters of pit pups in the front, with signs saying they weren't available for adoption. They are concerned about dogs not being adopted by bad owners, but the solution is not adopting them at all?
This idea that "bad dogs" take resources away from "good dogs," I have seen it before, not just in this case. I can remember reading an editorial in Paw Prints a couple years ago by Jon Katz, that expressed that sentiment. Katz was writing that someone he knew had adopted a pit mix from a shelter, and while she was walking her dog, someone elses dog got loose, ran up to it, and the dog attacked and killed it. They were going to kill the pit mix because of this, and the owner was asking Katz to write a letter to keep this from happening; she was willing to keep the dog muzzled and many other restrictive measures, to save her dog (who was not at fault in this issue--this is why we have leash laws). Katz wouldn't do anything to save this dog. It was his opinion, in this article, to paraphrase, that she had passed up many really nice dogs in the shelter in favor of this dog (suggesting this dog, because of breed, wasn't nice, or was a "problem dog.") This really ticked me off when I read it at the time, and it still does. One of my dogs was an abuse case taken in a raid with 8 other dogs. She spent a year in the shelter while her owners were tied up in court. She had never walked on a leash when we got her, and was scared of random, inanimate objects. Was it more of an effort to train her, work with her, turn her around? Yep. But totally worth it. She is the nicest, sweetest, most affectionate dog now. All the other dogs taken in the raid with her were killed...I can't imagine my life without this dog, what a waste if she had suffered the same fate, just because she was a difficult case.


linskykitty, would you be referring to Jon Katz the author who has Bedlam Farm?


Yes, I believe it is the same, after googling him. At the end of the article the credit said, "Jon Katz is the author of 'Katz on Dogs.'" I have never read any of his books; that article irked me so much I didn't ever look into anything else about him. I searched the Paw Prints archives but as they do not archive all the articles, I did not find it.


OK, I can't take anymore of this. Brent, tell your readers the truth please: NOT ALL 47 DOGS WERE SAVED. They are not all living the good life as Best Friends wants you to believe. As the world is making their donations to BF for saving all 47 dogs, not all of these dogs are sleeping in their cozy beds. BF has killed some of them because after all they went through, the torture they sustained and the suffering they endured, they could not be rehabilitated. And, BF is doing what they can't stop doing, LYING to the public in order to collect money from you all. They have thousands of acres over there-- I have seen it-- any why they can't find it in their hearts to make these dogs comfortable and let them just live in peace is beyond me. I guess they're a liability now: they cost money; someone will find out that some of the Vick dogs couldn't be rehabbed? Who knows.

I was out there a couple of years ago to volunteer and there were groups that were leaving Pit Bulls at Dogtown daily and BF was going crazy. They were investing a lot of $ to investigate who was leaving these Pits because "under no circumstances were they taking any Pit Bulls". I had driven out there from KC and had picked up a Pit and a Golden Retriever/Lab mix on the way, both in bad shape. They refused to take both dogs. I spent the whole week that I was supposed to be volunteering there, fighting their system, trying to get them to take 2 very sick dogs until I worked my way up to the top "dog" Michael Mountain himself, who was arrogant and self-serving and had no interest what-so-ever in helping two sick dogs.

The conclusion I drew after a long week which resulted in me bringing both dogs to KC was that BF doesn't do anything that doesn't result in some sort of positive press/financial gain for them. I was not surprised when they took the Vick dogs. Their policy when I was out there was not to take Pits but there was $ to be reaped in the publicity of the Vick dogs.

I was happy to see Michael Mountain go but they did not clean house totally. Some of the same players are there. By them talking about the 47 dogs they saved and not talking about those of the 47 they killed (unless something has changed-- Brent-- set me straight), they are still the liars and thieves that I know from a couple years ago.

Yea, I get it. There has been an indirect benefit but believe me, BF's interest in this had nothing to do with the dogs. Follow the money.



There were originally 51 dogs. Two died at the shelter. One was euthanized because it was aggressive, and another due to medical reasons.

So 47 remained. I lost track a little bit -- so these numbers may be off a bit, but I believe 22 of these dogs went to Best Friends. All are still alive there -- and it is my understanding that 17 of them are likely to eventually be rehomed. Two of the remaining 5 can never be rehomed because of a court order -- they were allowed to be saved, but never to be rehomed.

The other 25 dogs went to various rescue groups across the country. Several went into Bad Rap's program, the Monterey SPCA has three (at least one of which is getting permanently adopted soon - I have a story about this in my weekly roundup from Sunday), one or two ended up at a rescue in Baltimore, and the rest are scattered about at different rescues or have been rehomed at this point.

So BF has never had more than 22 of the dogs....


OK, OK so the 5... the 2 that can't be rehomed and the other 3-- what's going to happen to them? Tell me-- am I wrong? Are they going to kill them? I would love to be wrong but they're going to kill them right?


The ones that stay at Best Friends will live out their lives happily. They won't be killed until old age make euthanasia (true euthanasia) necessary. Even if the other 17 never get adopted, they will live their lives fully.

One BF takes an animal into their program, they do not kill them. They are not completely open admission (as you found out), but they do not kill dogs once they get into the program.


I thought you said at least 3 were going to die. If you did not, feel free to delete it all. BTW, your dogs are really cute. You know it's me, right?


The other 3 will continue to stay at Best Friends. If they become rehabilitated enough to go into homes, they will. However, their initial prospects aren't really good right now. The other 2 cannot go into homes ever under court order, regardless of how their rehab goes. But all but the initial 4 that were euthanized or died in the shelter early on will be living out their lives...and that's pretty cool.

And yes, I know it's you.


OK I'm going to call it one of those days where I'm speaking Gazoinka and the rest of the world is speaking English. Did you not tell me that some of those Vick dogs were going to be euthanized by (I thought BF) but by ?

I'll quit heckling. You can delete the whole mess. I obviously misunderstood. Sorry :O


Very well said!!


Great post Brent,I understand, all of us have been thinking about it, but couldn't say load

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