Thursday, January 15, 2009

No Halfway House Needed for Michael Vick Dogs, Faithful Friends at End of the Leash

ATLANTA, GA -- 01/15/09 -- Regretfully, breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Doberman and even the ever loved and faithful St. Bernard are all classified as aggressive.

The very qualities that make these dogs outstanding companion dogs -- intelligence, loyalty, courage and trainability is how Michael Vick and 20,000-40,000 others abuse their strength and power in the multibillion-dollar dog fighting industry. "There is absolutely no true concept of sport in inflicting pain on those who only know how to love unconditionally," said Wanda Goldberg, host of "Faithful Friends" on Animal Planet. "Be a voice for those without, abuse stops here, it stops now."

The "Faithful Friends" television show, together with Host Wanda Goldberg and Dr. Marty Smith of Doctors Foster and Smith Pet Supplies take on this controversial topic this Saturday on Animal Planet at 9:00 am. The show reminds pet parents that it is who is at the end of the leash that makes the difference in the dog's life, not the dog's breeding.

At the turn of the 20th Century, the American Pit Bull Terrier was the #1 family dog in the United States and Petey, a Pit Bull Terrier, was the de facto "babysitter" of the kids on the "Our Gang" TV show. Today, they achieve the fourth highest passing rate of all 122 breeds tested with an 82.5% that took a temperament test vs. 77% of all breeds on average. But, it is the owners at the end of the leash that turned a lover into a fighter. In the US, dog-fighting is considered a felony in every state except Wyoming and Idaho.

"Don't tell me that there are mean, vicious breeds, I won't listen to it," stated Dr. Marty Smith, who added, "today, most every one of the Michael Vick dogs are living enjoyable and productive lives due to compassionate new owners who have dedicated their time and energy to rehabilitate these loving dogs." As Michael Vick prepares to be released to a halfway house on January 20th, 52 of his 53 dogs live in loving homes throughout America. And Leo, one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's Bad Newz Kennels, after spending five weeks being trained and rehabbed by California trainer Marthina McClay, is now a therapy dog at the Camino Infusion Center, where he brings comfort to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The first episode of 2009 "Misunderstood Friends" on Animal Planet airs this Saturday at 9:00 am, and it takes on this controversial issue of breeds that are considered vicious by insurance companies and consumers in general. "This was one of the most positive shows I have seen in over 40 years of working with this breed," says Joe Burford, the President and Director of the Salt Lake Pit Bull Terrier Association.

Chuck, a dog deemed un-adoptable from the Bad Newz Kennels, is featured on the "Faithful Friends" television show this Saturday with its new owner, Warren Anderson, together with Joan Salmon the Executive Director/Founder of the Georgia SPCA. During the show, Joan and Warren discuss the dog-fighting world, the patience needed for rehabilitation and the unconditional love that is now received by owners of once considered unacceptable dogs.

"This week viewers of the Misunderstood episode will see why dogs like Chuck won a Medal of Honor in World War I," stated Tony Loiacono, Creator & Executive Producer of "Faithful Friends." "Unconditional love is often not found in our world, but through man's best friend it is a regular occurrence when a true friend is on both ends of the leash."

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