Animal Centers Experience Pit Bull Explosion

CHICAGO (CBS 2) – There is a Pit Bull population explosion in the city of Chicago’s Animal Care and Control Center. An estimated 7 out of 10 of the dogs being held at these centers are Pit Bulls or Pit Bull mixes. Now the city is making a frantic effort to save as many as possible from euthanasia. But as CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, it will be a losing battle for many of those dogs.

In the dog adoption rooms at the center, the barking is ferocious and never seems to stop. The dogs in the cages poke their noses out as they want to be touched and spoken to. Most of them are Pit Bulls.

Center’s executive director Cherie Travis talks of the breed, “Unfortunately they are disproportionately euthanized. We don’t euthanize Labs or Cocker Spaniels or Poodles the way we do with Pit Bulls.”

Few people want to adopt Pit Bulls or their mixes. When they’re given up by owners, or turn up stray or are seized in court cases, the dogs face almost certain death. Their only salvation may come from Pit Bull rescue groups or No Kill shelters that will take in many of them.

Carolyn Giannopoulos is a volunteer with Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue and denies that Pit Bulls are “killer beasts” by nature. “They’re very comical, really goofy, they’re very easy to train, easy to work with.”

Travis and the city are trying to make these dogs more sociable, more adoptable. Volunteer trainers work with the dogs at the center to teach them to behave and to interact well with people.

Trainer Janice Triptow said the training can be lifesaving for the dogs, “Initially they were not given a chance.”

Now it is hoped the dogs have a chance to join a loving family and perhaps to stay alive.

Director Travis said putting the dogs to sleep is, “Devastating, I go into the euthanasia room, I see the animals that we’re euthanizing and it breaks my heart. If people would spay or neuter their pets, if people would make better decisions regarding animals, we wouldn’t be doing that.”

Travis said she hopes that within 5 years, she can dramatically expand the number of cooperating no-kill shelters and rescue groups willing to help these dogs. She believes that when that happens, Chicago will become a “no-kill city” for its animal population.

  • Sierra Jackson

    God blessyou for saving these loving & sweet dogs :o) Save the pit bulls!

  • Barrie Brejcha

    Please share a telephone number (preferably ont he news) or advice as to how those who wish to adopt these lovely dogs can do so — so that fewer are destroyed unnecessarily. Thank you!

  • G. Ramos

    Where is the video for this?

  • Dianna

    I agree save the pit bulls!

  • Kristy Barrett

    Show this headline on OPRAH’s Show on Feb 24th when she invites Michael Vick to talk. See the damage caused by irresponsible and greedy owners …..

    • mr.d dent

      let me ask you? when all of this occured where was michael where near when they raided..just because it was his to he didnt relinquish ownership to his cousin/s more slashes his friend/s total ownership he is responsible right? just like when he was being shot at? lets say i front you 200k for a house and a business and you buy the house but sell drugs..guess i’m legally responsible because i should have known your character..gtfooh..but all in all with the money he was making..from a true friend to me out..the weight is on me…vick is tarnished and people like you will not let it go..have a look at… let go and let it..i’ll paray for you and others..the year he got was nothing compared to what mann act covers..and the other charges,,get a clue and find GOD..thank you

      • Roberta Waker

        Excuuuuse me. Witnesses stated that Vick was responsible for killing many of the animals himself. He may not have been there, but he WAS responsible because he DID kill these dogs and not in a very humane way either. If he was sincere or showed some remorse, people might be more forgiving because anyone can make a mistake. But, if you watch him, he shows no remorse and actually looks defiant. He will answer to God for what he did to these poor animals as he should. Meanwhile, we don’t have to like him anymore than any other criminal that kills animals or children.

    • Carol

      Errr! Everytime I hear Michael Vick’s name I feel like vomitting!

  • Carol

    It’s not the pit bull, it’s the owner. Instead of wasting loads of $$$ putting down dogs or cats, the money can be used to educate ignorant pet owners and the general public.

  • Mr.d dent

    And to Roberta Waker…hearsay..after all he only received a year..and how credible are these witnesses people will say anything when their heinies are on the line..I suppose he shot at himself as well..after all he DID give the house to his cousin/s and friends..guilt by association..thats all that was..

    • You're very wrong

      Vick is nothing more then a filthy savage. You can take the ape out the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the ape!!! He’ll be broke and back in prison soon enough.

    • Sierra Jackson

      There’s a book you will want to read, THE LOST DOGS.

      Vick is quite guilty for his actions, guilty with his words spoken by himself – no one spoke for him, guilty for the illegal use of his money, guilty for the illegal use of his property, and his associates were guilty, as well.

      Our lives are reflected in the words we choose, the associates we keep, the “hobbies” we have, and the actions we make — in public and in private. Each person is accountable for self. Choose wisely.

  • Mr.Dan C.

    Let’s leave Vick out of it. The root of the problem is the culture under which this intelligent and gentle breed becme popular. That is the real issue. Let me go on to say that I have owned different “military and police” breeds and they were all well behaved and loyal…very loyal. All of my dogs played with all of the family and neighborhood kids. They were all well behaved and followed the basic commands. It is the initial training and training maintenance that will help groom the dogs behavioral nature. IT IS NOT THE DOG WHO IS GUILTY!! IT IS THE OWNER!! AND ALL OWNERS SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE UNDER CIVIL LAW. NOT A SLAP ON THE WRIST EITHER!

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  • Alana

    Maybe the Press will work FOR us and NOT against us. If people only knew how popular these dogs were with families 100 years ago…

  • Sierra Jackson

    Pit Bulls, Pit Bull Mixes, and any “look-a-likes” are dogs are… Dogs that love to play fetch! Dogs that love to go on a walk in the park! Dogs that ADORE playing with children! Dogs that make WONDERFUL family pets! Dogs that like to go on vacation with their human-family!

    Change the world, start in your own heart and home first… adopt a dog — rescue a pit bull :o)

  • carolyn

    I was interviewed for this piece and unfortunately due to a breaking news story, my interview got cut. The fact is that a minimum of 75% of the dogs in animal control are pitbulls and pitbull mixes. We are the largest pitbull rescue in the area and we cannot keep us because we don’t have a facility, enough foster homes or the money needed to help more. If you are interested in helping, contact to help us help these dogs!

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  • Sue

    Small minded people really irk me. I spent several hours this last Saturday at CACC walking up and down the rows and rows and rows of cages, one pavilion after another and it just broke my heart to see how many of these dogs are pits. Strays to Owner turn ins… These dogs have no idea what is heppening to them, and the majority will never know the comfort of a loving family again because they will be put down. The sit in the back of their cages and shake because they are scared. It is loud, and the odor is unreal in there. These dogs do not deserve this. Pits are very loving and affectionate dogs. My two make me laugh on a daily basis, and want nothing more that to be walked and cuddled with.

    I rescued an 8 mo old female pit on saturday that was pregnant and turned in by their owner because they were having a baby and didn’t have time for her!?!?!?! Did you not have time for her or did you turn her in because you didn’t spay her and she got pregnant and you didn’t want to deal with the puppies?

    @Mr D Dent, you would be wise to get your facts straight first before commenting on Mr Vick. He openly admitted in court to taking part in the killings and to knowing what was going on at his house. He also admitted to taking part in dog fighting. There is no excuse for defending this man nor anyone that has knowledge or takes part in this type of activity. To say he served his time and payed his penalty for it, does no good, what about all the dogs that are dead because of his actions and for no reason other than someone didn’t think they were tough enough and played God and deemed them not worthy….. Who are we to play God???

    Please if you can help foster a dog contact one of the local no kill rescues and step up. This is a problem that needs to be corrected.

  • Lynn

    I was always afraid of pit bulls because of the media. A few years ago there was a stray in the subdivision the police had come out because of complaints, Why the police I do not know but I know they would have shot the dog if they could not catch it. Well we used our dogs as bait and we were able to catch the dog. No one claimed the dog and we kept it. It took a year before there was trust but the dog blends in with our other dogs super. He is so snuggly, happy and very smart,. I would get another pit bull . He wants to be close to people and loves to play with the other dogs which are adopted Doberman and Rottweiler..

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