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  1. #1

    Default Pit bull rescuer puts a lot into it

    Madison,WI -- Noel Anderson's red compact car has a bumper sticker in the shape of a dog bone that reads "I My Pit Bull."

    Make that plural, since Anderson is the Madison area's leading pit bull rescuer and founder of the Midwest Area Pit Stop. With the support of his wife and other people who love pit bulls, he has invested large amounts of time and money in fostering homeless pit bulls, and in trying to eliminate the stigma that surrounds the dogs.

    At one of Madison's larger pit bull foster homes on a day after a drenching rain there is, above all, mud. Mud that is cheerfully deposited by 17 dogs on visitors' clothing, lawn furniture and a concrete patio with five stainless steel water bowls and large storage units for dog gear. The muddy turf is surrounded by a high wooden fence and heavy foliage. Neon green tennis balls are scattered across the yard.

    That's the playground, but the dogs live indoors in neatly arranged individual crates on the main floor and in the finished basement.

    Anderson, a hydrogeologist, and his wife, Deborah, an emergency room nurse at UW Hospital, have four pit bulls of their own. Among them is a former fighting dog, as well as a dog that had been kept at the bottom of a wishing well until humane officials intervened.

    Saving dogs destined for euthanasia has become a consuming mission for the Andersons. Most come from humane society shelters in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana. Some have had behavior problems, but others were just unlucky: An owner moved into a nursing home; an elderly couple pressured a landlord to force a young family to get rid of their sweet-tempered dog because he was a pit bull.

    Sean McBryde, the director of development and communication at the Dane County Humane Society, says breed rescuers save about 600 dogs a year from being euthanized at their facility alone.

    Background checks

    McBryde said finding suitable adopters for the "bully breeds," which includes Rottweilers and pit bulls, is more complicated because criminal background checks are always done on people expressing interest in the dogs. They also contact landlords to find out if such a dog would be welcome on their property.

    "With those breeds there's a risk that they'll be adopted by someone who wants to abuse them by teaching them to be mean, or try to turn them into an attack dog," McBryde said.

    Since 2004 the organization has had a 99.2 percent success rate in placing dogs that showed no aggression after adoption, he said. Still, most of the dogs that arrive in pit bull rescue have been traumatized by various upheavals, and some have medical problems.

    Anderson works with the dogs until they are emotionally and physically ready to be adopted, then tries to place them in good homes. That's always the hard part.

    "There's a stigma about pit bulls that's been created by the media," he said. "Pit bulls who end up in shelters are usually euthanized right away just because of their breed."

    Many of the dogs are clearly mutts. Among the dogs now being fostered by the group are Regina, who most resembles her whippet ancestors, and Gunner, who favors his yellow lab lineage. Anderson estimates that he spends about $10,000 a year of his own money on pit bull rescue efforts. Another $35,000 was spent to dog-proof a shelter and install skylights so people can move around without turning on lights and disturbing the dogs. Between $500 to $750 is spent on veterinary and routine care of each dog before it is adopted. A $125 adoption fee is paid.

    7 hours a day

    Anderson is up and with the dogs between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m., and before the day is over he'll have spent about seven hours on them, which is on top of his professional work. Washing blankets, cleaning floors and cages, and massaging and bathing the animals is part of the routine. No ordinance in Madison limits the number of animals that can live at a residence, as long as they are properly cared for and not a nuisance to the neighborhood. During the six years Anderson has been involved in pit bull rescue, he has found homes for about 60 dogs. He doesn't take in dogs with any history of aggression towards people.

    "If there has been any aggression against other dogs, I look at the context and the severity. If there's a tussle between dogs who are trying to get into doors at the same time, I wouldn't consider that a serious problem," he said. "Unprovoked aggression, on the other hand, is a big problem. I don't have enough time to work with dogs who need that much rehabilitation."

    He also puts pictures and videos of the dogs his Web site www.maps.petfinder.com.A chunk of Anderson's time is also devoted to doing criminal background checks on people interested in adopting one of his dogs. If they have a clean record, they're allowed to meet the dogs. Anderson also does radio interviews, especially since 47 pit bulls were confiscated during a drug arrest at a Town of Dunn home, along with paraphernalia associated with dog fighting. Robert Lowery, 57, is awaiting trial on federal drug and weapons charges, and Dane County prosecutors are deciding if there is evidence to charge Lowery with running dog fights, a crime for which he was convicted in 1982. Anderson worries that every time an incident like that occurs, there is a spike in interest in pit bulls by unsavory people who want them for all the wrong reasons, such as fighting


  2. #2
    Attila Guest

    Default Re: Pit bull rescuer puts a lot into it

    niced couple that is very kind of them. What an undertaking. That has to be a tremendous amount of work. good post

  3. #3

    Thumbs up Re: Pit bull rescuer puts a lot into it

    Wow, that's really nice to hear that someone is doing this! I've never heard of anyone putting that much time into this breed to help save them and find nice homes to them. It's really refreshing!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    So. E. Los Angeles,CA.

    Default Re: Pit bull rescuer puts a lot into it

    He's a good person, not many of those left in this world.


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