As part of our 10-year anniversary celebration, the FACE Foundation is proud to be hosting a screening of the amazing documentary film The Champions on Saturday, September 24, 2016 at the Illumina Theater here in San Diego.
The Champions is an inspirational story about the pit bulls rescued from the brutal fighting ring of former Atlanta Falcon’s star quarterback Michael Vick, and those who risked it all to save them, despite pressure from PETA and The Humane Society of the United States to euthanize the dogs. It is a story of second-chances, redemption and hope. This uplifting documentary takes us on a journey about much more than just dogs—about prejudice, being misunderstood, the power of resilience, and the significance of the relationship we as humans have with animals.
We invite all of our friends to join us for this special event. You can register HERE. Don’t live in or near San Diego? No problem! You can watch the movie trailer by clicking HERE, and even download the full film right HERE!
A new book called Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon by Bronwen Dickey seeks to unravel the complicated history of the pit bull and separate the facts from the misconceptions about this controversial breed of dog. A recent interview with the author by National Geographic highlights the importance of understanding what makes this dog…and its owners…tick.
The author notes that the statistics associated with pit bull attack fatalities are inherently inaccurate because of misidentifications of the breed. The words “pit bull” are often used to identify any dog roughly matching a few general physical characteristics, such as a large head and short coat.
So what exactly is a pit bull? Dickey reports that there are actually 4 types of dog that get classified as a pit bull: the American pit bull terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier (the American Kennel club conformation breed), the Staffordshire bull terrier (also a conformation breed), and a new breed developed from the American Staffordshire terrier called the American bully.
While the American pit bull terrier was created for fighting in the 1880s, the other breeds were not, despite sharing similar physical characteristics. The original pit bull was a popular breed in the U.S. in the early 1900s, commonly associated with the working class. Petey the pit bull from the “Our Gang” series is a classic example.
Increased awareness of illegal dog fighting in the 1970s unfairly targeted the pit bull…remember those off-the-charts bite pressure statistics? This increased negative attention on the pit bull also resulted in a rise in dog shootings by the police and high animal shelter euthanasia rates for the breed.
Dickey has advice for people interested in helping to rehabilitate the breed by adopting a pit bull. Focus on the qualities of the individual dog in front of you, regardless of the breed. Finding the dog that’s right for you means that it’s hard to make decisions based on breed alone. If you are determined to get a pit bull, be sure to research your community’s regulations first (including your apartment complex or homeowners association rules).
Meet Ryno! A few weeks ago, this adorable love-bug wasn’t acting like his usual energetic and hungry self. His owners knew something had to be wrong when he refused to eat his favorite treats and food for more than a day, so they decided it was time for a trip to the vet. As it turned out, Ryno had eaten something he shouldn’t have: a piece of a blanket that was now stuck in his stomach! By the time they had finished diagnosing Ryno, his veterinarian realized that there was not much time left for this sweet boy unless he received an emergency surgery to remove the object. Ryno’s “parents,” a young couple supporting not only themselves, but two family members and their newborn son as well, were so overwhelmed when they found out that they wouldn’t be able to cover the full amount of Ryno’s life-saving surgery. Thankfully, the wonderful staff at VCA Animal Specialty Group referred them to FACE, who was able to pitch in and help Ryno get the surgery he needed to survive. Special thanks to FACE Life Sponsor The Spitcaufsky Family for helping to save Ryno.
Meet Jasmine! This sweet girl was suffering from pyometra – a severe infection of the uterus. She needed emergency surgery to save her life. Her owner, a young woman struggling to make ends meet, was devastated. She had spent her savings getting Jasmine diagnosed. “She is my little girl,” she said in a letter to FACE. “All she wants is someone to love her and I do with all my heart.” Luckily, FACE teamed up with ABC Vet of Kearny Mesa, and now Jasmine is back home by her loving owner’s side. Special thanks to Life Sponsor Greg Bellman for helping FACE save lives!
Infamous Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick announced earlier this week that he would like to adopt a dog. In an interview with Piers Morgan, Vick explained that his kids have wanted a dog for some time now, and that owning one would be therapeutic for them. “It certainly wouldn’t be a pit bull,” he assured. In 2007 Vick pleaded guilty to “Conspiracy to Travel in Interstate Commerce in Aid of Unlawful Activities and to Sponsor a Dog in an Animal Fighting Venture,” and was sentenced to 23 months in prison. Vick was also banned from owning a dog for three years immediately following his prison release, and that ban will expire this month.
Vick’s interest in adopting a new dog has provoked both support and outrage from the public. The ASPCA has already spoken out about Vick’s decision, telling TMZ, “Vick’s journey toward rehabilitation and redemption has not reflected any direct concern for the well being of animals, and we’ve never heard him express a shred of empathy toward the dogs he brutalized and killed.” The ASPCA went on to describe Vick’s actions as self-serving, and expressed “serious concerns about Vick’s ability to be a responsible pet guardian.”
Francis Battista of Best Friends Animal Society also blogged about Vick’s interest in adopting, and shed light on a devastating result of Vick’s dog-fighting operation. According to Battista, “many of the 22 ‘Vicktory dogs’ who came to Best Friends for rehabilitation arrived with a hidden killer circulating through their blood – babesia gibsoni, a fatal blood-born protozoan parasite that destroys red blood cells and ultimately causes death. It is virtually impossible to cure and treatment of symptoms involves long-term steroid therapy, which is itself debilitating. It is a terrible, wasting disease that is spread primarily through blood-to-blood exchanges during dog-fighting matches.”
A great number of dogs faced gruesome deaths at the hands of Vick, some had to be euthanized, and many of the remaining Vicktory dogs are still suffering the consequences of Vick’s actions. Many believe he should never be allowed to own a dog again, and others believe Vick has paid his dues and it is time to move on. Vick insists he is a changed man, working with the Humane Society of the United States among other damage control efforts. What do you think – should Vick be able to adopt a new dog?