The “Treat ‘Em Right Rescue” pit bull shelter in north Houston is currently occupied to the max. Executive Director Clay Fonvielle says right now, 22 pit bulls are waiting to be adopted by loving families or individuals.
“I mean, we like to keep it at about 17 or 18 and we just had some situations where we had to go above and beyond, so we just did what we had to do.”
Pit bulls don’t have the best reputation. Occasionally, you hear of a child or elderly person being injured or killed by one.
But Fonvielle says that’s not the dogs’ fault but that of unscrupulous owners.
“To me, someone who fights dogs is… I put them in the same category as a rapist or a child molester or, you know, a murderer, just a bottom-of-the-barrel, scum-of-the-earth type individual, and those are unfortunately the people that do give the dogs a bad name.”
The “Treat ‘Em Right Rescue” shelter wants to improve that reputation. Part of its mission is to rehabilitate dogs that have had a rough past. And Fonvielle says pit bulls that have formerly been trained to fight aren’t hopeless cases.
“The dog that was at one point the ambassador or the representative of this shelter was seized from a fighting ring a few years back – the sheriff’s department was involved. And he was a fighting dog, had half of his face ripped off and, you know, he was taken to the point where he was fine around other dogs and did not even show any aggression around other dogs.”
Fonvielle says it’s pit bulls’ adaptability and loyalty that is often abused by unscrupulous owners.