Update 07/12/10: We just received word from Karma Rescue that Fox 11 has reversed their decision to discriminate against Pit Bulls, Pit Bull mixes, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. They will once again help these dogs find homes on their Adopt-a-Pet segment. Thanks to the nearly 300 Change.org community members who sent a message on behalf of the dogs, and thanks to Fox 11 for giving these dogs a chance!
Thanks to everyone who spoke up on behalf of the dogs!
On June 25, 2010, KTTKA Fox 11 in Los Angeles took a discriminatory step in prohibiting all adoption and rescue groups from featuring "pit bulls," pit bull mixes, Rottweilers, or Doberman Pinschers on Fox 11's Adopt-A-Dog program.
The station sent an email to participating animal rescue organizations stating that "Effective immediately we can no longer have Pit Bulls, Pit Bull mixes, Rottweilers, or Dobermans participate in our Adopt-a-Dog program."
Karma Rescue, a local L.A. rescue that participates in the Adopt-A-Dog program was saddened and confused, to say the least, about the news. Karma rescue is an all-breed rescue that saves at risk dogs from shelters with a high euthanasia rate in the Los Angeles area, and provides each dog a new beginning at life.
Randy Levine, Founder of Karma Rescue says "Our appearances on Fox 11 have yielded amazing results for our dogs." Levine continues, "We recently took one of our dogs, ‘Juno,' along with two of her puppies, on Good Day LA, and the reaction was extraordinary." Juno is a "pit bull," and is no longer allowed on Fox 11's Adopt-A-Dog program, along with any dog resembling her characteristics.
Discriminating against dogs based on appearance is outdated and ineffective. If Fox 11 has a problem with certain canine behavior, dogs exhibiting those behaviors should certainly be prohibited. Banning appearances by dogs that simply look like one of the above referenced breeds frustrates the goal of pet adoptions in general, does nothing to help lower "kill rates" at L.A. shelters, and a destroys any positive community oriented image for Fox 11.
*Photo Credit: "Bunny" from Karma Rescue, who is no longer allowed on Fox 11's "Adopt-a-Dog" program because she is a pit bull mix. For more information on "Bunny," visit www.karmarescue.org
Clearly Fox 11’s goal is to prevent dog bite incidents involving dogs for adoption appearing on the program. Canine profiling and breed discriminatory legislation has been around for many years and has done nothing to reduce dog bite incidents, nor has it effectively managed dangerous dogs. Rather than eliminating dogs by appearance, Fox 11’s new policy should mirror good breed-neutral laws and procedures that target dogs based on behavior.
For instance: 1) insist that every rescue be represented by at least two volunteers. Thereby, one person can securely hold the dog while the other fills out paperwork, gets mic'd, etc.; 2) communicate to all the rescues involved that only non-aggressive animals will be allowed on the show. Although aggressive behavior is not always easy to predict, putting the rescues on notice will certainly cause additional scrutiny; 3) instruct cast and crew not to interact with the rescue dogs that are brought onto the set; 4) to that end, instruct the rescues to wait in a specific part of the studio with their dogs where no problems can occur. As I understand it, that measure has already been taken. Try the new arrangement out for a while. It could be as easy as that simple change.
Each available dog is an individual. Its adoptability and appearance on your show should be based on temperament, not overbroad physical characteristics.
Banning appearances by dogs that simply look like one of the above referenced breeds frustrates the goal of pet adoptions in general, does nothing to help lower “kill rates” at L.A. shelters, and destroys any positive community oriented image for Fox 11. I urge you and your legal department to reconsider it’s breed discriminatory policy and opt for a policy that targets dogs that have potential to bite, whether it is an overprotective Chihuahua or an out of control Labrador Retriever.
Thank you for your time and sincere consideration in this matter.