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Pittie Palooza

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The Jackson County Animal Shelter is offering deals on pit bulls this weekend it hopes you can’t pass up
Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Amy Oakden, a volunteer at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, shares a moment Wednesday with Diner, one of the pitbulls who hopes to find a home this weekend.

Found behind a local diner, a 2-year-old red pit bull pup, affectionately named “Diner,” might have stumbled onto his forever home when a good Samaritan scooped him up and took him home.

As Diner’s luck would have it, however, the good Samaritan’s other dog was not a big fan of the reddish-brown pit bull and promptly attacked poor Diner.

Surrendered to the Jackson County Animal Shelter with extensive injuries, Diner has had a long road of healing from the physical and emotional scars of his attack.

A perfectly pleasant pup in his own right, Diner is one of a dozen pit bulls or pit bull mixes languishing at the shelter. Dubbed “the poster child” for this weekend’s “Pittie Palooza,” Diner and 11 of his closest pit bull pals will be on hand to meet potential adopters with a deeply discounted adoption fee.

Shelter Director Kim Casey said the pit bull event is the second reduced-fee adoption event for Jackson County Animal Services this year, but the first “breed specific” event.

Casey said shelters across the country are overtaxed and hanging out the proverbial “no vacancy” sign after overwhelming networks of foster homes for cats and dogs and turning away “owner surrender” situations almost daily.

Casey said pit bulls and pit bull mixes are a tough sell because of a slew of stereotypes about the dogs — including high prey drive and abundant energy — while some insurance companies and landlords will often refuse to work with families who own the dogs.

An advantage to finding one of the pudgy-faced pits from the county shelter, however, Casey said, is that they’ve been fully vetted and assessed for temperament.

“The idea for the pit bull adoption event was essentially that we have a number of dogs that have been lingering in adoption and had a little more difficulty finding a home. Of 12 dogs we had available a few weeks ago for adoption, 11 were pit bulls or pit bull mixes. In general, we have continuously had more pit bulls available for adoption, and they do tend to linger,” Casey said.

“We’re hoping this event will be a good opportunity to educate the public on this breed and tackle some of the stereotypes. They do tend to be dogs that may not do well with other dogs or maybe they don’t like cats or have a higher prey drive than other dogs. Some are very sensitive. They’re very athletic ... and if you don’t find something for them to do, they have a tendency to be able to find their own mischief.”

Casey said the crew of pits on hand waiting for families this weekend has the seal of approval of shelter staff and volunteers, who can tell potential adopters anything they’d like to know.

“We have some wonderful dogs who are waiting for their forever home. A few of them do have some special needs, but our hope is that if it takes a little longer for them to find the right situation, we’ll have the assurance that they’ve found the best possible fit,” added Casey.

“All dogs we adopt at the shelter have gone through a temperament check and are not aggressive toward people, and they participate in play groups.”

Diner, Casey noted, is a great example. Described as a “puppy in an oversized body,” Diner gets along better with female dogs than with males, and he might be too rambunctious for a house with small children.

“He’s been taken out into the community to assess how he handles different situations, and he’s even gone home with a few of our volunteers, and he’s a really great dog,” Casey added.

“Despite his really sad story and all that he’s been through, he's a really sweet boy.”

Casey said the dozen pits were treated to a photo shoot with flower necklaces and hankerchiefs. FOTAS (Friends of the Animal Shelter) volunteer Eliza Kauder said the pit event is a great deal for families looking to add a new member this weekend.

“It’s a heck of a deal. The normal adoption fee is $150, but FOTAS is covering the first $100 to help these dogs get into good homes and out of the shelter,” she said.

“When people donate to FOTAS, they’re helping in a lot of ways, and one of those ways is to cover adoption fees to give these dogs a better chance.”

This weekend’s event will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, 5595 S. Pacific Highway, between Phoenix and Talent.

No appointment is needed to attend.

To help with adoption fees or for more information, visit online, fotas.org.

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

Pittie showcase

A few of the pitties being showcased at Pittie Palooza include:

Three-year-old Daisy, weighing in at 75 pounds, does well in play groups, takes treats gently and would love to find a home where she can serve as a foot rest or movie-watching partner.

One-year-old Frankie is a big guy at over 70 pounds. Tan and white, Frankie has lots of energy but enjoys being taught new things.

Wallace, a dark brown and white boy with a wide grin, is estimated at 4 years old and some 80 pounds. Not a big fan of cats, he makes up for his anti-feline stance with a slew of cute tricks and a loyal nature.

Five-year-old Lola is a goofball with a cute face and knack for getting her way. Recently surrendered by her family, who felt they lacked time for Lola, the 2-year-old pit-lab mix tends to pull on leashes but uses a dog door and takes treats gently.