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2011-11-09 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

This Sunday, November 13, the daytime Bully Breed Brigade and the evening LI premiere of the documentary Beyond the Myth, detailing breed discrimination will do more than heighten Pit Bull awareness. These events are symbolic of a united commitment too.

Our dog double-header is designed to show solidarity among many LI rescue organizations, trying to make life better for these often misunderstood and mistreated dogs. As an added bonus, the festivities coincide with the visit of Animal Planet and Tia Torres, here in Wantagh to film an amazing adoption from Hempstead Shelter to be aired on an upcoming episode of her TV show Pit Bulls & Parolees.

We‘ve invited model canine citizens. Pit Bull “Ambassadogs” from shelters all over Long Island are getting ready to “strut their stuff” in the Pit Parade during the Bully Breed Brigade hosted by Last Hope Animal Rescue and Hempstead Town Shelter this Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Beltagh Avenue, the street that our shelters share. Many dogs are currently for adoption; others are alumni from the various shelters and rescues. (Weatherman, please bless us with a day like the NY Marathon had last Sunday.)

The Pit Parade kicks off at 12:30. The plan is for the handler/ dog teams to start at the portable stage, follow the street loop that borders our shelters and Wantagh High/Middle Schools and end at the stage again so each Pit can stroll across it as his handler announces his name and where he comes from. So far we know that joining us will be dogs from Islip, North Hempstead, Huntington, Babylon, Oyster Bay and Riverhead town shelters as well as Bobbi & the Strays, Almost Home, and Mixed Breeds in Need.

Hempstead Shelter’s Assistant Shelter Director Cindy Iacopella has been working with Tia Torres from Villalobos Rescue Center and the TV show “Pit Bulls and Parolees” on Animal Planet. Tia and her daughter will be driving to LI from California, scheduled to arrive in time for our joint event.

Cindy says: “Tia and her team will be rescuing the six fighting dogs from Elmont. These dogs have been through hell and back and because of Tia have a second chance at life and love. She will be here during the rescue and even for her show. She will most likely be holding a Pit Bull 101 class and a Meet n’ Greet.” No time frame on the talk or filming yet.

The Elmont dogs have been a high profile animal abuse case by a repeat offender. Several of the females were used for breeding and one allegedly had her teeth filed down so she couldn’t fight back. Now temperament tested, spayed/neutered and vetted, the sextet is ready for their new home at Tia’s sanctuary. Several were still wearing their E-collars when I met them last week.

Throughout the day, there will be workshops and vendors in Last Hope’s parking lot. Roman Gottfried from Greenwich, CT will be explaining the analytical techniques of his holistic pet service where Roman stresses: “. coach people on how to achieve balance between themselves and their dog and become the Natural Pack Leader. . also give them specific tools and methods to raise a perfect dog.” Last Hope and Hempstead are lending Roman demo dogs to work with at the event. We were asked to supply “remedial students.”

Mary Bruce of Tavi & Friends, a non-profit dedicated to helping special animals with unique challenges, will be demonstrating TTouch, developed by Linda Tellington three decades ago. TTouch is a holistic therapy and training method that uses the fingertips and hands to make small, gentle, circular movements on pets’ skin. The touch induces a state of relaxation. Although I have minimal Ttouch skills, I have seen the circle massage work wonders with frightened animals at the shelter, especially new entrants.

Our goal for the Bully Breed Brigade is to enlighten the public about the plethora of Pits overlooked in our town shelters and about their untapped potential in the hands of responsible owners. The public is invited to attend, but unless on the guest list, your dogs should stay home and wait for the TV show.

The Brigade will culminate that evening when Last Hope hosts a screening of the acclaimed documentary, Beyond the Myth, a film about Pits and breed discrimination at the Cradle of Aviation IMAX Theater, 1 Davis Avenue, Garden City. Film maker Libby Sherrill of Tennessee will be there to speak.

Breed specific legislation (BSL) is erroneously based on physical appearance rather than the deeds of the owners or dogs. Thankfully, BSL is illegal in NYS. Imagine living in a city like Denver, Miami or Cincinnati where specific breeds are banned and where animal control has even gone door to door confiscating and later killing beloved pets, just because of the way they looked.

Doors at the Cradle of Aviation open at 6 p.m.; the film starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 each. Cash only. Pre- viously tickets had to be purchased online, but now Last Hope is selling tickets beforehand and at the door. To buy or reserve Beyond the Myth tickets, or for any questions about the Bully Breed Brigade, contact bbb@lasthopeanimalrescue.org or call 631-671-2588.

For Adoption at Babylon Town Animal Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Buddy” #94049, a friendly young Pit has been at the shelter since April. He does well around other dogs and knows basic commands. “Rudyard” #20950 is a special needs, purebred Bengal cat. He and his brother “Kipling” (now adopted) were abandoned. “Rudyard” has a luxated lens and may need his eye removed. He is a vocal sweetie who jumps and climbs with ease.

Cats: “Baby” in C-9- handsome Maine Coon mix; “Pristine” in the lobby- solid white beauty.

Female: “Mona Lisa” Jack/Pit mix; “Mae” the miracle Pit.

Male: Pomeranian, “Bailey” the Beagle who showed up at a garage sale; “Otis” the brindle Pit who will be Babylon shelter director’s partner at the Bully Breed Brigade.

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