Pit Bulls Get A Totally Bad Rap Says Dog Lover Jeff
Jeff Coltenback of Leland said when his brother rescued a pit bull, the animal rescued Coltenback from a bad situation in his life.
When Jeff Coltenback was 19 years old, his brother rescued a pit bull that was left at a bar. This dog, Oden, not only inspired Coltenback to get sober, but it also ignited a passion that led him to found the nonprofit Pitty Rescue.
Coltenback was into hard drugs but when his brother came home with Oden, Coltenback discovered a meaning to his life. He began to train Oden and found love, patience and acceptance. Oden inspired him to get his life in order and live with purpose.
“We both got a second chance,” Coltenback remembered.
Eventually, Coltenback started to train friends’ dogs as they realized his talent and today he is a sought after dog trainer. But he not only trains dogs, he saves and advocates for them.
Coltenback believes that pit bulls are treated poorly in the press. It has been his experience that many stories regarding pit bull aggression are actually breed misidentification.
“The biggest issue is, in my opinion,” Coltenback said, “is breed identification. If it’s muscular and has a big head, it’s called a pit bull. And, in reality, there is only one breed on the entire planet that is a pit bull and that’s the American Pit Bull Terrier.”
Coltenback admits that pit bulls can be trained to be vicious. They are strong and trainable, which have led some to breed them into fighting dogs.
“My opinion is they are one of the most bred and abused dogs in America,” Coltenback said, “because they are so good at what they do. What do you want them to do? They are so eager to please and they are really athletic, capable animals.”
Coltenback wrote a book about Amber, a pit bull he found on Craigslist. Amber showed up for sale through the classifieds and he rescued her from a bad environment. Amber not only became a loyal pet but also a therapy dog who worked in senior citizen homes and with youth groups.
Coltenback and his wife founded Pitty Rescue in April 2010, where they rescue any animal in need, not just pit bulls. The first animal Pitty Rescue saved was a guinea pig.
“Although we’re called Pitty Rescue, we’re an all species rescue,” Coltenback said. “Over the years, it wasn’t just dogs. It was cats, bunnies, parrots, ferrets. … Although we are pitty focused we don’t want to discriminate. For us to discriminate … well, that’s our whole argument! If we have room and we can help, we will.”
After relocating from New Jersey to Leland about two years ago, Coltenback was able to increase the number of animals he can foster, but for safety there is a limit. Pitty Rescue is looking for volunteers to help.
They will continue to help animals find loving homes while they advocate for the breed they love.
“Big picture thinking: Educating the public is more important” than enhancing his own reputation, Coltenback said, “The greater picture is the protection of the animals we love so dearly that are misunderstood and misjudged.”
Pitty Rescue is online at www.pittyrescue.com.