Pup Culture Magazine—October/November

Page 43



RESTORING HONOR TO A MISUNDERSTOOD BREED Written by MaryAnn Aquilino | Photography by Celeste Giuliano Photography


itbulls, along with several other breeds, have been getting a bad reputation over the last few decades, mainly due to sensationalized and incomplete media reports involving dog bites and fatalities. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 78 million dogs are owned by 62 million households. Yet fatal dog attacks are very rare: approximately 20 per year which equals .0000002% of the dog population. Some states have enacted Breed Specific Legislation against several breeds including Pitbulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweillers and many apartment buildings prohibit specific breeds from residing there with their owners. However, there are individuals and groups out there attempting educate people about these breeds, breed specific legislation laws, and discrimination. One of these individuals is Deirdre Franklin, founder of Pinups for Pitbulls (PFPB), a certified 501c3 notfor-profit organization. Founded in 2005, PFPB educates people about Pitbulls and pitbull-type dogs, while also doing animal rescue and sponsoring animal rehabilitation. PFPB works with dog trainers, behaviorists, rescue organizations, and other animal welfare groups, creating educational materials and hosting educational seminars and programs, raising awareness of the plight Pitbulls face. Deirdre had several inspirations for starting PFPB. First was an attempt to rescue a pitbull mix dropped off at a refuge where she volunteered and being unable to due to the refuge kill

policy aimed at pitbull-type dogs. It was after this experience Deirdre was able to rescue Carla Lou, another pitbull, from Chako, a Texas rescue organization. “She was a tenacious, loyal, gentle and loving soul,” Deirdre describes. “Her eyes were very soulful and had powerful effects of healing people who were hurting. She was full of love and grace.” She was also frustrated by all of the pitbull-type dogs she witnessed being pulled from the streets of the New Orleans/ Baton Rouge area after hurricane Katrina. “I was there doing animal search & rescue work with the Humane Society of the United States and In Defense of Animals,” Deirdre said. It was during that trip, she realized she could utilize her pinup modeling work to continue to help rescue these dogs. “I realized that since I had a great following of my pinup modeling work and those same people helped me raise money to pay for my flight to New Orleans to do my rescue work that I could do something with the attention I had and the faith that people had in me,” Deirdre said. To help raise money for her organization, Deirdre sells a number of products on her website, including human and dog t-shirts with the PFPB slogan, “Take My Leash, Not My Life”, coffee mugs, hot sauce, and an annual pinup calendar featuring pinup girls and their dogs. “I myself am a pinup girl and had been modeling long before I started Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. It began to feel empty to me in just creating photographs so I decided to merge my two loves into one: modeling and pit bull www.pupculturemagazine.com | 41