BRADENTON, FL - Many pit bulls, partly because of their breed's "bully" reputation, wait a long time in shelters to be adopted, and some never find a new home. In an effort to change that, Manatee County's Animal Services is launching a campaign promoting the adoption of the mixed breeds commonly referred to as "pit bulls", and it's already proving to be a success.
With over 70% of its canine population falling under the "pit bull" category, Manatee County Animal Services started the Adopt a Bull Program in August, putting the dogs through an extensive training program, making them more appealing to people looking to adopt, while debunking the myth that pit bulls are mean.
“They are the most loving dogs I’ve ever met.” Monique Decesare and her partner are the proud parents of three dogs -- Maddox, a boxer; Capone, a pit bull mix; and the newest member of the family, Lucy, who they adopted from Manatee County Animal Service's Adopt a Bull Program. “They want to play, they want to be loved. They don't realize how big they truly are, and how powerful they are. They act as though they're little Yorkies; they want to lay in your lap.”
Chief Kris Weiskopf with Manatee County Animal Services says that's how the majority of pit bulls in the shelter are -- lovers not fighters. But he says with all the misconceptions about pit bulls, it's made it tough to adopt them out. “Back in the 60's is when these were first bred and cross bred to be able to give that beefy, muscular dog look, kind of a masculine thing I suppose, and I guess over the years as it's gone they've gotten what I call a bad rep.”
But thanks to the Adopt a Bull Program, Chief Weiskopf says more people are seeing pit bulls as they loving dogs they really are. Right now, there are eleven pit bull mixes in the program, working on earning their canine good citizen certification through the AKC, and he says the idea is to give them an edge on the competition, proving to people that pit bulls make great pets. “Put aside all the myths. Put aside what you read on the internet, the only way to truly know is to come down here. Take a look, take one out, we've got play yards, take a dog, take two dogs, whatever, come out here and just see for yourself before you pass judgment.”
If you're interested in adopting a pit bull from the Adopt a Bull Program, contact Manatee County Animal Services.