There are many, many APBT rescue groups in the USA, with more being formed with what seems like daily regularity. And while the work of those dedicated to helping individual dogs and restoring the breed’s reputation is noble in theory, it’s not always so noble in individual practice. Sadly, ‘rescue’ isn’t always synonymous with ‘ethical’.
Rescue work is a complicated, heart-rending, expensive undertaking that only those with the best of intentions for the FUTURE of the breed should pursue. This means that rescues must have a firm grasp of The Big Picture, recognize that they cannot ‘save them all’, and be 100% dedicated to thoroughly educating themselves on the breed BEFORE they open their doors up and present themselves as breed experts. And egos must be left behind. Rescue work is about the DOGS. Period.
Several years ago, a group of reputable advocacy organizations penned The Code of Ethics for Pit Bull Rescue. The impetus for writing this ethical document was not to try and control or judge the work of other groups, but rather to help guide and educate those newer to the world of APBT rescue. There is no ‘manual’ on how to do this work ‘right’, and experience, while often the best teacher, can sometimes come at the price of devastating mistakes and mishaps. The COE, as it’s been come to be known, was meant to help steer newer rescues on the path of least mistakes. The COE was also meant to help aid the public in spotting those APBT rescues that may not have the best ethics.
Ethics in rescue must always come first. Rescue is not a race to place the most individual dogs, or raise the most money, or build the biggest name. It’s about preserving the future of the breed, educating those who would impact the APBT breed, saving the best breed ambassadors, and committing to the public to always be open and honest about practices.
Breed rescue and advocacy is not for everyone, but if a person chooses to pursue this path, they must do so with the desire to always represent the field of rescue work to the best of their ability. They owe it to others who stand beside them on the front lines, and most of all, they owe it to the dogs.