Celebrities Including Paris Hilton Are Campaigning To Save Pit Bulls From Euthanasia
The campaign, #SaveThe21, was launched Wednesday on Facebook by King City-based Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary.
Personalities including Hilton, Cherry, actress Maggie Q and singer Natalie Imbruglia are featured in videos calling on the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to withdraw its application.
“There’s no reason to have them euthanized and if the OSPCA does go through with euthanizing the dogs, they’re going to have a lot of people to answer to,” said Clare Forndran, a spokesperson for the sanctuary.
Cherry said he’s followed this story from the beginning, and mentioned it this past weekend during his segment from the NHL all-star game.
“It just bothers me to no end that this is happening,” said Cherry. “It’s not just a passing fancy and I really appreciate the opportunity to lend whatever status I have.”
In October, 2015, 31 pit bull-type dogs were seized from a home in Tilbury, near Chatham. Three suspects were charged with animal cruelty and firearm-related offences and the animals were transferred to the OSPCA’s care.
Three of those dogs were euthanized for medical reasons following recommendations made by two veterinarians, and the OSPCA filed a court application to have 21 others euthanized. Seven dogs from the original group and 11 born in the OSPCA’s care were deemed good candidates for rehabilitation.
“The Ontario SPCA always advocates for rehabilitation first but we have to focus on public safety,” said OSPCA deputy chief inspector Jennifer Bluhm.
She said their American counterpart, the ASPCA, evaluated each dog and identified them as some of the most aggressive it’s ever assessed.
“The triggers with these dogs are not your usual triggers. They’re trained to fight and kill,” said Bluhm. “They’re happy wagging their tail and then the next thing you know they’re lunging and then they go back to being playful as if the attack never happened.”
She called it “dangerous” to advocate that these dogs be saved at all costs.
“These dogs could seriously hurt another dog or person, even a child,” Bluhm said. “I think it’s irresponsible to ignore information from experts. It’s misleading to the public.”
Forndran disputes the notion that the dogs cannot be rehabilitated. She said behavioural assessments of the dogs have been reviewed by Florida-based Dogs Playing For Life National Canine Centre, which has identified them as “excellent candidates for rehabilitation” and is ready to take them in.
“You can teach an old dog new tricks,” she said.
Entourage actor Adrian Grenier has already released a video calling on the OSPCA to withdraw its application.
The next court date concerning the euthanasia application is Feb. 16.
“There’s so much killing going on in the world,” Cherry said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me that these people are so determined to kill these dogs when there’s a chance they can have a life.”
As pit bull ownership is illegal in Ontario, it would be up to the court where the dogs go next should it rule against the application to euthanize them.
“Pit bulls, if anybody knows them, they’re the most loveable dog in the world,” said Cherry. “I know they’re powerful and all that but it’s not the dog, it’s the people that own them, the jerks that own them . . . Give them a second chance, everybody in this world seems to be getting a second chance.”