Update, 2/18/09: I’m absolutely overjoyed to announce that Gramby has FINALLY been adopted! After almost 2 1/2 years at Animal Haven, Gramby has found his forever home. It’s such momentous news that Animal Haven even blogged about it:
Gramby was our longest term dog here at Animal Haven and was recently adopted. Gramby was found as a stray from a city with a breed ban on October 13th, 2006 when he was just a pup. Last week he was adopted out by a fantastic lady from Blue Springs. He has adjusted very well to life with his new mother and is having the time of his life now that he finally has his lifelong home. He even gets to cuddle with his mother’s baby granddaughter for nap time.
And, what a wiggler he is too! Our ants-in-the-pants pal Gramby is always on the lookout for something interesting. Who can blame him? Gramby’s dedicated friends here at Animal taught him a few things before he went to his new lifelong home, and he’ll sit for a treat (though he likes to be sure it’s abundantly tasty).
My heart sings for him! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, anonymous “fantastic lady from Blue Springs,” for giving Gramby another shot at life.
When I started the “Featured Adoptable” series back in April of 2008, it was my hope to help the animal rescue community here in Kansas City by highlighting some of the many wonderful animals available for adoption. In the past seven months, I’ve featured 40 animals, 22 of which have either been adopted – or euthanized (not all area shelters are “no-kill,” and when an animal’s listing has been removed from Petfinder rather than updated, there’s no way of knowing what happened to the animal in question). Through the months, we’ve met dogs, cats, mice, rabbits, pigs, horses, sheep, birds, guinea pigs – even a ferret! But one animal in particular has stuck with me – Gramby the pit bull.
Gramby was the second animal I featured on the KC Freecycle blog, right after One-Eyed Jack. Back in May, Gramby was 18 months old and had been at Animal Haven for more than a year. Despite Animal Haven’s best efforts – he’s been their “featured pet” for quite some time, as also served as the model doggeh for the group’s Tire Marks logo – Gramby still has yet to be adopted. Poor Gramby has spent much of his puppy- and young adult-hood an orphan.
Animal Haven is a non-profit animal shelter operating with a progressive no-kill philosophy. For over 40 years, Animal Haven has served our community as both an adoption center and as an organization that manages stray animals for up to twelve local municipalities. Animal Haven is the only non-profit animal shelter in Johnson County, Kansas that manages stray animals. In 2007, Animal Haven accepted 3,167 stray, unwanted, orphaned, abandoned and rescued companion animals. Animal Haven is determined to help as many pets as possible find the loving homes they deserve, while working to ensure that animals in our care are both behaviorally and physically healthy. No animal is ever euthanized for space at Animal Haven.
Of the 3,167 animals received in 2007, 1,457 were adopted into great new homes and 1,073 were happily reunited with their original families. Sadly, 637 had to be humanely put to sleep due to illness or aggression. Statistics, such as these qualify Animal Haven as a no-kill shelter. Animal Haven is currently one of two no-kill shelters in the Greater Kansas City Area.
(Clearly, “no-kill” doesn’t really mean “no kill,” but that’s another discussion altogether.)
One consequence of following a “no-kill” philosophy is that some animals – those that, for whatever reason, cannot be adopted out in a timely fashion – are warehoused for indefinite periods of time. Such is the case with Gramby: at 25+ months of age, he’s spent roughly 18+ of those months at Animal Haven. Assuming he hasn’t been placed with a foster family – most of Animal Haven’s animals are housed at the shelter – that’s a long, lonely time to spend in a cage.
So now I’m asking for a holiday miracle for Gramby. Due to his status as a so-called “dangerous breed” (read: pit bull), Gramby is “outlawed” in some areas and, thus, harder to place in a loving home. Even though he’s a youngster with no health or behavioral problems, his breed membership makes him a “special needs” dog. This despite the fact that pit bulls are actually less aggressive than dogs commonly perceived as harmless, such as wiener dogs, chihuahuas, and Jack Russell terriers.
As Karen Delise explains in her 2007 book, The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression:
First it was the Bloodhound, sensationalized in the dramatizations of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Then it was the Doberman, symbol of the Nazi menace. Today, it is the Pit bull that is vilified for the depravity of his masters. Today, police chase down fleeing Pit bulls in the street, firing dozens of wild shots in response to media-fed rumors of supernatural Pit bull abilities. Politicians coach and nurture this fear with their own brand of rhetoric used to assist in the passing of quick and ineffective legislation created to pacify communities ignorant of the real cause for dog attacks. Hundreds of animal shelters throughout the country kill all unclaimed Pit bull-looking dogs, as they are deemed “unadoptable” solely on their physical appearance.
This has occurred because the human/dog bond, the most complex and profound inter-species relationship in the history of mankind, has been reduced to a simple axiom: Breed of dog = degree of dangerousness. We have come to accept that hanging entire breeds of dogs in effigy for the sins of their owners is an acceptable solution to canine aggression because we have been placated by a Pit Bull Placebo. Like the pharmacologically inactive sugar pill dispensed to pacify a patient who supposes it to be medicine, eradication of the Pit bull is the placebo administered to ease the public’s anxiety about dog attacks.
The book, The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression, explores how our views and beliefs about canine aggression have changed over the last 150 years and how our perceptions about the nature and behavior of dogs has been influenced by persons and organizations who often times disseminate information about dog attacks which is tailored to further an agenda unrelated to the improvement of the human/dog bond. We are in the midst of a social hysteria about Pit bulls because we have abandoned centuries-old common-sense and have been duped by inaccurate reporting from the “Pit Bull Paparazzi” and by politicians who traffic in rumors, myths and pseudoscience in their efforts to pass legislation that demonizes dogs while exonerating criminal and abusive owners.
If we truly believe that the extremely rare cases of fatal dog attacks merit extreme measures in the management of dogs, if our concern and shock is genuine, then we must be equally genuine and sincere in seeking out and addressing the real causes for these incidents. Only by stepping back from the swirl of present-day hysteria surrounding isolated cases of severe canine aggression and examining the problem from a broader and more objective perspective can we hope to understand and address the human and canine behaviors which contribute to these incidents.
Simply put, Gramby (and others like him) is the victim of breedism. He’s been sentenced to 18+ months in prison for the crimes of people like Michael Vick.
Please, if you’re looking to bring another dog into your life – and you live in an area that allows “dangerous breeds” – please take another look at Gramby. No being should have to suffer for the sins of another. Gramby deserves better. He deserves a home and a family.
He deserves a chance.
18 months, 55 pounds. What a wiggler! Our ants-in-the-pants pal Gramby is always on the lookout for something interesting. Who can blame him? There’s a lot going on around here! He has been in the shelter for over one year. He is patiently and eagerly looking for his forever home
Found as a stray from a city with a breed ban, he’s just a youngster, ready to learn anything you can throw his way. Group training classes will set him up for success, and you’d certainly want such a handsome dog to be out in the world, strutting his stuff. Gramby’s dedicated friends (Animal Haven volunteers/staff) have taught him a few things, and he’ll sit for a treat (though he likes to be sure it’s abundantly tasty). He’s playful with all, even fond of other animals.
On a personal note, my husband and I adopted our middle dog, O-Ren, from Animal Haven in 2005. Currently we live with five dogs, including one dachshund – the four-legged fiend in the Daily Mail article I linked to above – and a Jack Russell terrier, both of which are rated more aggressive than pit bulls.
I’ve also shared my home with “dangerous” breeds such as the pit bull: My family of origin adopted a pit bull mix when I was in college; Shadow (so named because she was my mother’s shadow), who passed away last month, was one of the sweetest dogs I’ve ever known. In terms of aggression, she certainly didn’t hold a candle to Ralphie the dachshund – even though we strongly suspect that she came to us as a discarded fighting dog. Prior to her death, I hadn’t seen her for several years – yet, I miss her terribly just the same.
Speaking from experience, I’ve learned two important lessons from the many wonderful dogs I’ve met: 1) Dogs are as much a product of their environment as their genes – more likely than not “dangerous” dogs are dangerous not because of their breed, but because of how humans have (mis)treated them; and 2) Animals have such a humbling capacity for unconditional love and forgiveness – if only a fraction of this magnanimity were to rub off on the human species, what a peaceful place the world would be.
On that note –
Happy howlidays, from the entire KC Freecycle pack.
Each Wednesday, the Kansas City Freecycle blog will feature one adoptable animal from a local KC rescue group or animal shelter.
We do this for several reasons:
- To highlight the plight of companion animals in the Kansas City area.
- To remind members of our no-animal policy, and provide an alternative venue for members who wish to adopt an unwanted animal.
- To encourage members to adopt a furry friend.
- To help out out local animal rescue groups and animal shelters, many of which are overwhelmed by the sheer number of animals in need.
- To illustrate these animals’ unique personalities and characteristics, thus underscoring the fact that they are not objects and should not be “freecycled”.
Click here to view past Featured Adoptables.
Tagged: kcfreecycle freecycle kansas ks missouri mo kcmo kcks featured adoptables animal adoption animal rescue petfinder pet companion animal dog canine pit bull animal haven breedism bsl breed specific legislation no-kill christmas miracle