Category Archives: animal stars

Nine years: the good, bad and ugly

Nine years ago today 51 terrified, traumatized, and unsocialized dogs, who had been forced to fight or were used as bait dogs, were rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in Surrey Virginia. Normally, these dogs would be held as evidence and eventually humanely euthanized. But in this groundbreaking case, it was decided, due to the request of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, BADRAP, and other loud animal loving voices and the agreement of the judge, that these dogs would be individually evaluated to see if any of them could be saved and rehabilitated.

From Jacqueline Bedsaul Johnson (she and Kevin Johnson adopted Ray)

“Each dog was to be tested for dog aggression as well as human aggression. It was hoped that two or three of the 49 surviving dogs (two died while in care) would be deemed salvageable. Imagine everyone’s surprise when all but one of the dogs showed at least some degree of ability to be rehabilitated.

“One dog, who had been bred and fought repeatedly, was just too emotionally and physically damaged to try and save. She was humanely euthanized. The remaining 48 dogs were dispersed to 8 different rescue groups for adoption, rehabilitation or sanctuary. 22 of the most damaged dogs were sent to a sanctuary to begin working towards recovery and eventual adoption.

Forty of these dogs have been adopted and are now living in loving homes with kids cats, and other dogs. Dogs like Cherry Garcia, who just had one leg amputated, Handsome Dan, Little Red, Mel, Layla, Curly, Jhumpa Jones, Jonny, Oscar, Uba, Iggy, Audie, Zippy, Stella and Ginger. I was lucky to have met Red, Stella and Ginger and their guardians a few years ago at the Monterey SPCA.

https://celiasue.com/2009/08/22/survivor-dogs/

Some of the dogs have become therapy dogs, agility champions and emotional support animals. Others have gone to the Rainbow Bridge including Red, Lucas, Leo, Jasmine, Georgia, Hector (and his brother Wallace, who was not a Victory dog but an unwanted shelter dog who became a world champion disc dog), Ray and others.

“These dogs were victims, not criminals. And because of their bravery and loving nature they have taught us all so much. If dogs like these – dogs who were trained, fought and abused – can become loving family members, how can anyone say that Pit Bull-type dogs are inherently dangerous? It just doesn’t make sense.

“Dogs that are seized are now routinely assessed for rehabilitation. There is no longer a belief that these dogs are somehow responsible for the life that was forced on them. That they are damaged goods, better off dead.”

“In the coming days, many of the adoptive families of the dogs rescued from Bad Newz Kennels will be traveling to Virginia to what is now known as Good Newz Rehab Center. In the field where once our dogs were chained, trees will be planted to memorialize each of the dogs. Each tree will have a plaque listing the dog’s name and their family’s name.

“This is not a media event, but a private ceremony and pilgrimage for the people who have loved these incredible dogs. Vicktory Dog Oscar‘s mom Rachel and artist/writer Levity Tomkinson of the Re51lient Project have designed a t-shirt to commemorate the event, and to help raise money for the families traveling to honor their dogs.

http://barkpost.com/good/michael-vick-most-infamous-dogfighting-anniversary/

A movie about the dogs called The Champions” premiered in 2015 and has been screened at festivals and events around the country. It’s also available for purchase online. Directed by Darcy Dennett, the film follows six dogs from unlikely survival to adoption. The film has won awards, including People’s Choice for Best Documentary at the Denver Film Festival. Pit bulls are banned in Denver.

https://celiasue.com/2015/10/15/victory-dogs-film-the-champions/

A word about The Re51lient Project: 51 Paintings of the Dogs Rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. The Re51lient Project is an art advocacy project that combines Levity’s signature style pop-art painting and positive, emotionally driven writing.

She aims to promote a highly positive image for pit bull and pit bull type dogs, dogs rescued from fighting rings and to show others that if these dogs can triumph, love, forgive, continue forward and just simply be happy, then we as humans have the ability to wake up every morning and do the same. These dogs shows us the potential that we all have and provide a palpable inspiration and hope that we can change our lives.

Levity is the proud momma to a pit mix, Rinlee, (who incidentally is the reason that she began painting dogs in 2010). She has followed the stories of the dogs rescued from Bad Newz Kennels. Rinlee is the reason that she began painting “Dog Pawps” which twas the artistic foundation to create The Re51lient Project.

“Dogs are as close as we can get to perfection here on Earth,” says Levity. “They are these little hearts and beings and spirits that every day, they do their best. That’s all they know how to do. They love infallibly  I feel like with these dogs in particular, all of the feelings and traits are magnified even more because they have been exposed to more than any living being ever should, but look at them. They are beautiful, they are happy, they’re forgiving, they love. They’re re51lient. That have changed the world and have the ability to cause more change, simply by being them. They have certainly changed my life.

“These dogs will be remembered with love, with reverence, appreciation. They’ll be remembered with tears, both happy and sad. They will be remembered in every dog rescued from a fighting ring that has been given, is being given or will be given a chance to be evaluated and seen as an individual. They will be remembered by not only their lives, but by the lives of the other dogs that they saved.

“These dogs deserved a chance at life. People finally had the chance to see that dogs rescued from fighting rings have every right, just as any other dog, to be seen as individuals. Because of these dogs, other dogs rescued from fighting rings, both large and small, have been given the chance to be seen simply as dogs and therefore, given a chance at the lives they always should have had.

“These dogs absolutely have set a precedent in how dogs from fighting rings are evaluated. They truly changed the landscape and I am so grateful to the people who so deeply believed and worked towards helping others see that these dogs must be treated as individuals,”  Levity concluded.

 

The dogs in their own woofs… words …

Ginger 

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“Today marks nine years since I was rescued from Bad Newz Kennels. Today I woke up snuggled under a pile of covers with a sweet kiss on my nose from mom…life is good.

 

Uba

For my dog (Uba), on this day he went from being a puppy waiting to be a victim of unimaginable cruelty to a puppy actually being mentally and emotionally tortured. This was the day that his emotional well being was sacrificed. The Vick dogs changed the conversation and so, so many dogs are alive today because of them, so I don’t begrudge the world his emotional challenges. Nine years ago today was not the first day my dog felt love. It was probably the first day he was truly terrified.”

 

BADRAP

“The time period between their seizure (April 2007) and release to rescue (October 2007) did damage to many of the dogs from the case. The now-timid Ginger scampered back and forth like a scared feral cat in the back of her kennel, Frodo pressed himself to the ground when the shelter clatter finally got to him (he’s still noise sensitive), and the energetic Uba paced in neurotic figure eights to relieve his tedium. Our stomachs were in knots during the months that this set of dogs was in lock down. While we waited anxiously for the courts to allow us to evaluate, and then, okay their release, we knew the damage done by their impossible conditions could be irreparable in some or all of the dogs.

“…We’ve learned so much from the Vick dogs, and their lessons have changed us forever. One of their biggest lessons though tends to be forgotten in the excitement of their adoption success. We’d love it if every time readers hear of a new batch of victims rounded up from a cruelty case, you would consider the Vick dogs’ long and difficult post-seizure experience and ask, “What’s being done to keep this latest set of dogs comfortable, vetted and sane while we wait for help to arrive?” The answer to that question could make all the difference in whether the cruelty they suffer ends for good the moment they’re seized by authorities — not several months later, after they’re finally released to rescue.

“NOTE: With all due respect to the incredible people who came together to seize the “Vick dogs” in April 2007, we will be celebrating the five year anniversary ‘happy style’ in October — on the date that the federal courts finally waved them out of the shelters and onto freedom. What a HAPPY day that was!”

http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2012/04/vick-dogs-five-years-post-seizure-has.html

 

Little Red enjoying the sunshine

 

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Handsome Dan

“Because so many people worked to save us, went to bat for us, took a chance on us, and gave us the tools to learn how to live in the human world, the climate has now changed for dogs like me rescued from the horrific world of dogfighting. They are no longer victims, now they can be survivors. Until dogfighting is no more, we will continue to fight for the survivors.

“I owe so much to my special friends Nicole Rattay (the first person I learned to trust on the other side), Rebecca Huss (my court appointed guardian), Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer (for your hard work and granting me my name), John Garcia (for so much, including advocating for my move to Best Friends and all the one-on-one time), Betsy Kidder (my first mama), Kristi Littrell (for finding my family), Crissa and Damien and all of my other caregivers, Cherry Garcia (my first playmate), Little Red (my first roommate and girlfriend), Ann Allums (for bringing me home) and countless others who helped me find my way. Thank you from the bottom of my big pittie heart, from me and my mama!”

 

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Handsome Before when he was known as Hanover 22

 

 

After with his dear friend Cherry Garcia and mama Heather who operates an animal rescue organization named after Handsome

 

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Cherry Garcia now

 

Cherry-leg-7

Cherry’s brother Novi when he saw CHERRY, first thing he did was count his legs ‘1, 2, 3; Cherry has 3 legs now and he is awesome!’

To watch Cherry’s recovery and all of his adventures that will follow, you can ‘like’ his Facebook page.

http://barkpost.com/cherry-vicktory-dog-amputation-champion/

 

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Filed under adoption, animal rescue, animal stars, badrap, best friends animal sanctuary, pit bull, Uncategorized, Vicktory dogs

Best Pet Blogs

We have been selected as one of the best Pet blogs to follow by first site guide …  see below.

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http://firstsiteguide.com/best-pet-blogs/

It is always nice to be appreciated.  Thanks !

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Filed under all you need is a dog, animal stars, animals, California

Doggie Day books

This week was National Dog Day, ok, we missed it by a day or two… well, here are three VERY different doggie books that you just HAVE TO READ if you love doggies… and you might just pick up a few for your fellow doggie friends for the holidays (which are going to be here sooner than your dog can chew up a dog bone).

 

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The exciting and funny / hilarious new Chet and Bernie book, Paw and Order, which you’ve all been waiting with doggie breath to come out so you can read it. Now you can.

Harry Truman once said “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.”

Cici and I were very happy to get our paws on the latest (7th in the series) Chet and BernieL book, Paw and Order because we are always up for another hilarious adventure seen thru Chet’s canine eyeballs. The story begins in New Orleans. And Bernie’s Porsche and a trip to a BBQ joint turns into a fiasco with some motorcycle dudes who have big necks.  But no matter, Chet and Bernie are on the case and a team not to be messed with.

The dog-eat-dog world of Washington DC will never be the same after Chet and Bernie’s Little adventure. They could have gone straight home from New Orleans but what fun would that have been? They instead detoured because well, Bernie’s sometime girlfriend Suzie the newspaper reporter is now working at the Washington Post and she is on a BIG story that she cannot talk about. So of course,  Chet sniffs around the capital city and Bernie ends up arrested. An international conspiracy unfolds and Chet encounters a strange new animal, a guinea pig, who holds the fate of the nation in his paws.

Chet and Bernie are always a winning combination. With Chet’s sharp eyes and cool nose and Bernie’s talents, they cannot lose, although it is always suspenseful along the way. Another great read for dog lovers, guinea pig aficionados, and Washington DC insiders and outsiders.

http://www.chetthedog.com/tag/paw-and-order

Off the Leash: A Year at the Dog Park  by Matthew Gilbert

If you have ever visited a dog park and met some strange, weird, quirky, bizarre dog people, then you will relate to this book. It is about an array of dogs and their people who gather at Amory Park, overlooking Boston near Fenway Park.

Matthew Gilbert, a longtime TV critic at The Boston Globe, describes his reluctant trip into the dog park subculture, as the first-time owner of a stubbornly social Yellow Lab puppy named Toby. Like many Americans, he was happily accustomed to the safe distance of TV viewing and cell-phone web surfing, tethered to the digital leash. But the headstrong, play-obsessed Toby pulls him to Amory, and Amory becomes an exhilarating dose of presence for him. The joyous chaos of wrestling dogs and the park’s cast of offbeat dog owners – the “pack of freaks” – gradually draw him into the here and now. At the dog park, the dog owners go off the leash, too.

Meetings at the dog park can be mayhem, chaotic and fun, depending upon  the day. Sort of a daily or weekly canine soap opera. Dogs love/hate one another as do their owners.  When the dogs have disagreements, so do their human companions. And sometimes the human beans are even worse than the dogs when they are off the leash.

This is a very funny, sunny, very right on, portrait of life at the dog park and relationships and encounters between dogs and the dog owners. Dog Parks: Enter at Your Own Risk. Dog parks are not for the faint of heart or skittish. And Gilbert knows right where the fun begins and ends.  His honest and enthusiastic memoir will make you rethink going to the dog park or yearning to find doggie friends and a pack to belong to.

 

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Dogs Rule, Nonchalantly by Mark Ulriksen is just plain silly. EVERYONE who is ANYONE with a DOG that is KNOWS that Dogs Rule. Of course, my Polka Dot Princess agrees with me on that one. She Rules this household. Of course.  Ulriken has been working for a little publication called The New Yorker, where he has been a regular contributor since 1993. He has achieved more than 40 magazine covers to his credit.   This book offers great illustrations of doggies, and funny lines to go with the images. We were offput by one illustration of what seemed to be a bad stereotype of a bully breed dog. We do not like those stereotypes as you know. Other than that, numerous breeds were represented in hilarious detail. And some of the jokes were VERY funny.  If you live or love a dog, you know how amusing they can be. And this book capitalizes upon canines and their goofyness with refreshing charm and a breath of doggie sunshine. Dogs penchant for stinky things. Dogs and their always sunny disposition (until you are leaving the house).  And you know the rest of their quirks.

http://dogsruleproject.com/

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Filed under animal books, animal stars, Best Friends, breeds, dog crazy, dog friendly, dog parks, dog speak, dogs, four paws up, K9 approved, keep pets safe, pet care, pet press, pit bull, shaggy dog story, silly dog, Uncategorized

Susie’s Hope on TV

This is an incredible week for pit bulls with Pit Bull Week at HuffPost Green and this movie, wow !!!

A pit bull attack survivor adopts an abused pit bull … this just makes me cry. The courage exhibited by Donna Lawrence is truly inspirational and healing. (Imagine if someone else who shall remain nameless went on this path instead of the path of hate and revenge, oh well, everyone chooses what they do).

The movie Susie’s Hope, the true story of Greensboro, NC’s Donna Lawrence (played by Emmanuelle Vaugier, “Two and A Half Men,” “CSY: NY”), a natural-born animal lover who barely survives a ferocious, life-threatening attack by an abused pit bull but learns to overcome her new fear of dogs and move forward in the most unexpected way – by adopting and caring for a brutally abused, abandoned pit bull-mix puppy named Susie.  Susie’s Hope premieres exclusively on UP on Sunday, August 3 at 8:00 p.m. EST / 7:00 p.m. PST.

Susie’s Hope is an inspirational, hopeful movie about unexpected second chances and compassion,” said Sophia Kelley, senior vice president of programming, UP.  “After almost losing her life, Donna Lawrence finds the strength to face her newfound fear of dogs and motivate a state to pass legislation to help prevent cruelty to animals. Susie’s Hope is a truly touching film that’s guaranteed to uplift all who watch it.”

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Susie’s Hope recounts the story of Donna Lawrence (Emmanuelle Vaugier), a long-time dog enthusiast and caretaker, who warily observes the neglect and deterioration of a nearby neighbor’s pit bull and volunteers to help.  When the owner moves and abandons the dog, Donna is left behind as the animal’s caretaker.  Every day, she places a bowl of food in the doghouse and walks away.  During a routine visit, the fearful dog attacks Donna without warning, pinning her to the ground, viciously clenching her at the throat.  Donna calls out to God and finds the strength to throw the dog off and roll away.  After being rushed to the emergency room by a neighbor, the doctors tell her that she is lucky to have all of her limbs as well as her life.  Donna receives 45 stitches in her leg and spends the next two months learning to walk again.

With the help of her husband Roy (Burgess Jenkins), Donna heals physically but the emotional scars of the traumatic attack leave her shaken and frightened until she meets Susie.  Donna’s close friend, Ramona (Andrea Powell) is who initially comes across Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy that had been beaten, set on fire, and left to die by her former owner. Both having experienced vicious attacks, Donna and Susie share mutual fears and learn to conquer them together.  Donna makes peace with her wrongful attack and Susie forgives humans for hers. Spearheading a group of like-minded individuals, the pair ultimately inspire and move an entire state to take a legislative stand against animal cruelty through the passage of “Susie’s Law,” which strengthened North Carolina’s penalties for animal abuse into a Class H felony.

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About Donna Lawrence and Susie:

Donna and Susie have worked to overcome their mutual traumatic experiences to inspire and minister to others (human and canine).  Donna and Susie visit schools, nursing homes, churches, burn centers and organizations, and attend pet adoption fairs and fundraisers to motivate and educate people surrounding animal cruelty.  Captivating the hearts of those that learn of Susie’s story, Susie was recently recognized as the 2014 Therapy Dog winner for The American Humane Association Hero Dog AwardsTM. The commendable recognition has placed Susie in the national finals (as one of the eight finalist contenders) of the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™.  To vote for Susie, visit: http://www.herodogawards.org/vote?nominee=35549916.  Voting ends Monday, September 15, 2014 at 12 p.m. EST.

For more information about the Susie’s Law and the Susie’s Hope™ non-profit organization, which promotes education and awareness of the care and responsibility required in owning pets as well as animal safety around unfamiliar animals:

·        www.susieshope-nc.org/susieslaw.htm

·        www.susieshope.com/nonprofit

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Filed under adoption, animal abuse, animal books, animal stars, bigotry against dogs, canine rehabilitation, dogs, pet care, pit bull, politics, Uncategorized

Happy Take Your Pooch to Work Day

June 20 is Take Your Dog to Work Day…   how are you celebrating?

 

here are some ideas:

 

http://www.takeyourdog.com/Get-Involved/10-ways-to-celebrate.php

 

Some lucky doggies go to work EVERY Day…

 

Screen shot 2014-06-19 at 11.18.54 AM   http://www.dogsforheroes.org/   http://www.pinterest.com/stubbydog/pit-bulls-are-therapy-dogs/   and some lucky humans gets to work with dogs (and other animals) Every day…   here are some of their jobs/businesses:

Advocate for animals

Animal boarding facility

Animal Communicator

Animal control officer

Animal sanctuary (Best Friends, VillaLobos)

Artist, pet portraits

Author of pet books

Cat/canine coffee house owner

Dog trainer

Dog food cook

Dog treat baker

Dog food truck (ie, Phydough)

Dog bakery owner or employee

Doggie daycare owner or employee

Doggie groomer

Dog hydrotherapist, acupuncturist, canine massage therapist

Farmer

Filmmaker of pet movies

Guide dog trainer

Jewelry maker of pet items

Pet camp owner

Pet fashion (clothing designer, sales)

Pet friendly innkeeper

Pet toymaker

Pet food retail shop owner

Pet photographer

Pet Public Relations/Marketing/Social Media

Pet product manufacturer (i.e., collars, leashes, harnesses, food, shampoo)

Pet sitter

Pet transporter/taxi

Pet travel specialist

Pet Travel writer

Pet writer

Property management (pet friendly properties)

Realtor (pet friendly homes)

Train dog models, dog actors

T-shirts, clothing related to pets

Veterinarian

Vet technician

Website designer (for pet related products, group, rescues, etc)

  Do you work with animals?   shampoo-conditioner-3

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Filed under adoption, animal communication, animal rescue, animal stars, animals, dog rescue, dog training, dog wear, doggie camp, doggie daycare, dogs, keep pets safe, pet sitting, pet travel, pit bull, Uncategorized, vet

Oh Happy Pit Bull Day

 The United Nations has chosen a pit bull to be the face of world happiness for International Happiness Day on March 20th.

Macy is a four-year-old pit bull terrier dog whose sweet face will be on one of six stamps for World Happiness Day, the one stamp that was chosen as the cover for their promotional brochure.

Macy was deemed unadoptable at a high kill shelter, but was then rescued by Grateful Dogs, a rescue organization in the San Francisco area that saves dogs facing imminent euthanasia.  Jackie Shen fostered Macy, but foster mom quickly became forever mom.

Before meeting Macy, Jackie was actually a little intimidated by pit bulls. “I had never considered myself a pit bull person, and if I were honest, they scared me a little,” Shen said. “However, Macy completely blew my stereotypes and preconceptions out of the water. The thing Macy loves above all else is human interaction and attention.” This happens pretty frequently. Given just a small chance, stubby dogs will completely win you over.  And then there’s no turning back.

Jaymi Heimbuch is the photographer who took the photo on the stamp.  She originally took the picture as part of Hearts Speak, an organization of volunteer photographers that promotes adoptable dogs.  Jaymi sold the photo to a stock photo agency and only found out about Macy’s Happiness Day stamp when a stranger gave her the brochure with Macy’s picture in it.

Macy-stamp

http://stubbydog.org/2014/03/pit-bull-chosen-as-the-international-face-of-happiness/

Buy a bunch of pit bull stamps, share with your friends, tell the world how happy pit bulls are, what great pets they make, how silly and goofy they are and what amazing, loving dogs.

 

And they are even suggested as dogs to help humans overcome depression.  I agree, I felt really depressed when I met Cici and she perked me right up, make me laugh every day, silly silly dog

 

http://dalepartridge.com/top-7-dog-breeds-people-fighting-depression/

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Filed under adoption, animal stars, around the world, dogs, dogs in advertising, pit bull, What a wonderful world

Do NOT kill these dogs!

Please share, lend your voice and tell Santa Ana supervisors in Orange County, California not to destroy ANY dog fighting dogs. They are having a meeting in a few days, January 28, and want to just kill all the dogs that have been seized from dog fighting rings. Write them off as dangerous, vicious and be done with the dogs. THIS IS NOT OK.

All of the former Michael Vick dogs are living role models and testimony to the idea that ALL of these dogs deserve a Second Chance at LIFE. It is not the dogs fault that they have been forced to fight other dogs. Penalize the dog fighters not the dogs.

Eight of the former MV dogs are therapy dogs. Many are living in happy, loving homes with kids, other dogs and cats, too thanks to BadRap, Best Friends, Monterey SPCA and all the others that saved their lives and gave them a second chance.
Dog fighting is a CRIME. Punish the dog fighters not their victims…

 from Best Friends:

http://blogs.bestfriends.org/index.php/2014/01/21/a-matter-of-fairness-and-justice/

from BadRap: 

 

ACTION ALERT:

Dear Friends of Jonny Justice, Audie, Hector, Handsome Dan & Company. Remember when you helped us send hundreds of copies of ‘The Lost Dogs’ to the Obamas in 2011 to help educate our President about the plight of pit bulls? You can bet you helped seed the anti-BSL statement that came out of the White House during Obama’s second term, and we LOVE you for that. Creative, positive, political action WORKS.

Now we need you again. Do you have eight dollars to spare? The Orange County (CA) Board of Supervisors would like to destroy dogs that come from cruelty (dog fighting) cases in their county. We don’t know why. It could be that they aren’t aware that all dogs are individuals and survivors of terrible backgrounds defy the odds every single day. Please consider sending one or more of the board members a softcover copy of ‘Saving Audie’ – as a way to demonstrate what may be lost if they move forward with their no-mercy policy. If you order from Amazon today or tomorrow, they will get rec’v it in time for their meeting & vote on Jan 28. If you live in Orange County – please speak up. The dogs need you now! Thank you!

http://www.amazon.com/Saving-Audie-Puppy-Second-Chance/dp/080273457X/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

Hall of Administration

333 W. Santa Ana Blvd.

Santa Ana, CA 92701

Chairman Shawn Nelson (Fourth District)

Supervisor Janet Nguyen (First District)

Supervisor John Moorlach (Second District)

Supervisor Todd Spitzer (Third District)

Supervisor Pat Bates (Fifth District)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/meganm15/the-incredible-story-of-wallace-and-hector-pit-bull-brothers

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Filed under All you need is love, animal abuse, animal rescue, animal stars, badrap, best friends animal sanctuary, dog fights, dog rescue, dogs, Dogs Deserve Better, end dog racism, end dogfighting, keep pets safe, Michael Vick dogs, pit bull, politics