Media Coverage

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Lydia Zaidman

Pit Crew Wins Award from CTAN

Congratulations to the Pit Crew!

Cari Crowe (Pit Crew Team Member), Crystal Dunn (Pit Crew Trainer), and Skyler Lightfoot (Afterschool Program Director)

We won a Breakfast of Champions Award by the Central Texas Afterschool Network for our work at elementary schools in Austin!

This certificate of appreciation truly goes to the dedicated Pit Crew dog and handler teams that give their time to visit schools in our program regularly. They commit their time to reading clubs, art clubs, festivals, and more.

Pit Crew won this award in recognition for their professionalism and their commitment to humane education and dog safety in schools – an effort in the making  for almost three years. Of course, having some of the cutest, smartest, and sweetest dogs anyone could ever have the pleasure of snuggling is also key.

Mike Martinez, Council Member and Mayoral Candidate, expressed his deepest gratitude for programs like ours today.  He commented on the great influence they had on him as a child:  “Pardon all this passion… I am a product of what you all do.  Thank you.”

Cari Crowe, Council Member Mike Martinez, Crystal Dunn

Pit Crew is on a roll – this makes our second award nomination this year! In April, Hope Alliance, a non-profit organization that provides assistance for those affected by family and sexual violence,  also nominated us for our work with their women’s shelter.  It was honor just to be suggested for such a high regard and we look forward to our future with their organization.

Thank you to everyone in the Pit Crew for your continued dedication to dogs, the community, and our team. You and your dog are doing great things!

Is your Pit Bull or Pittie Mix exceptionally social and sweet? Consider joining us! Visit the Pit Crew page for more details. The next class begins Sunday, June 8th, 6:30 pm at Zoom Room Austin. Space is still available!

Blog post by Crystal Dunn of Leaps N’ Hounds, Trainer for Love-A-Bull’s Pit Crew Therapy Dogs.

Love-A-Bull Works to End Discrimination in Austin Housing

Love-A-Bull receives inquiries almost daily from dedicated pittie owners trying to find housing that does not discriminate by breed. In the majority of Austin’s rental housing market (and indeed, in nearly every other city nationwide), rental restrictions are making it increasingly difficult for guardians of pit bull type dogs and up to 30 other breeds in some cases, to find any available housing options. We maintain a Housing Assistance page, but the number of apartment complexes that do not discriminate based on breed are few.

These restrictions are unfair and patently discriminatory for a variety of reasons, penalize responsible dog owners, and serve as a major obstacle in any community’s goal to save more homeless pets/avoid surrenders. Love-A-Bull has been working to find solutions to this issue for close to two years, in talks with the Austin Apartment Managers Association, City of Austin staff, the Austin Animal Advisory Commission, the City’s No-Kill Implementation Plan Working Groups, and others. There is now significant City Council interest in pursuing an ordinance that would disallow breed-based discrimination in housing complexes in Austin, and we are supporting efforts to research and implement such a measure. This would be a much-needed and long-overdue step towards treating all breeds equally, and refocusing the discussion on maintaining safe housing communities with families who treat their pets as family, regardless of breed.

Last week, Love-A-Bull presented to the Austin Animal Commission on breed discrimination in housing, pointing out that these restrictions are keeping good animals out of good homes. The commission will continue the discussion at their next meeting in August before making a recommendation to council.

The ordinance that Council Member Mike Martinez is currently working on, would prohibit landlords of city investment properties from banning certain breeds. Currently it’s up to the individual property owner to create any breed restrictions according to the Austin Tenants Council.

News Media:
• KVUE story: Possible ban on dog breed requirements for housing
• YNN coverage: ‘Bully breed’ advocates seek to lift residential dog bans

Two Pitties Earn their Wings!

Two pit bulls rightly earned their “wings” in an airplane when a myriad of rescues, supporters, private pilots, and news media came together to fly them from Cleveland, Ohio down to Austin, Texas.

This journey was a long time coming, but Mustang Sally finally made her way down to Austin — with another pittie traveling buddy, Coltrane, who also got a second chance at life.

Mustang Sally’s story first began almost 4 months prior on the afternoon of Thursday, December 22, 2011 when Cleveland police raided a suspected dog fighting ring and confiscated 20+ pit bulls.

The stories of the rescued pitties and the developing dog fighting case were covered across multiple news networks and countless blogs over the next few months — from these stories on Cleveland’s local channels Fox8,, WKYC to updates on the Examiner — providing continued coverage of the dog fighting case and the rescued dogs.

So how did the dogs get all the way to Austin? Julie Konopinski, a wonderful volunteer with Cleveland Animal Control, helped in networking to contact rescues to pull these dogs from the shelter — and that’s when Love-A-Bull got involved! Then a group of some amazing pilots from Pilots N Paws agreed to help transport all the way from Ohio to Texas.  But, in seemed like a long way for her to go alone?  So, Coltrane bummed a ride!

Before the scheduled departure, we found out one of the dogs from the fight bust was going to be adopted by someone in the area. Woohoo! But that meant there was an open spot to fill — so what was the next best thing to do? Give another pittie a second chance too!

Yep! You better believe their trip made the news: Pit Bull from Dog-Fighting Ring Flown to New Home.


Within just a few weeks of arriving in Austin both pups had already been adopted! You can read about their new families here.

Find photos of the dogs rescued by the Cleveland Police and Cleveland Animal Control Wardens on 12/22/11 in this Facebook album “Hope for the 27″ and “More of the 27″.

Making room: Love-A-Bull welcomes nine cruelty survivors from the East Coast

Love-A-Bull is abuzz with excitement: we’re about to welcome nine sweet new dogs in our Adopt-A-Bulls program! All nine dogs are traveling long distances to come to us, and we can’t wait to give them a big Texas welcome. But we are in dire need of foster homes! Click here to join our all-star foster team.

Over the past few weeks, we have agreed to take in nine dogs saved from three different dog fighting operations in Florida, Ohio, and South Carolina. This is a first for us, and it may even be a first for any local rescue group — nine dogs from three dogfighting busts in three states — wow!

Here’s a little preview of the sweet faces to come.

FLORIDA: In mid-December, 2011, 45 dogs were confiscated from a dog fighting bust in Sebring, FL. The dogs were kept in horrible conditions, chained, and left with algae-covered water. Many dogs were severely ill. The State of Florida has gained custody of 16 of the 45 dogs, and Love-A-Bull has worked with Florida powerhouse Dolly’s Foundation to accept transfer of three of them. The dogs have been described as friendly with people and dogs, petite, and absolutely adorable. Dolly’s Foundation will be hand-delivering these three little sweethearts on Saturday. We can’t wait!

For a touching video by Dolly’s Foundation about the Florida dogs, click here.

SOUTH CAROLINA: In October, 2011, authorities in Richland County, South Carolina arrested five suspects and seized 27 dogs involved in a dog fighting operation, several of whom were in such poor health that they were on the verge of death. Animal Farm Foundation, a national leader in advocacy, training, and evaluation of pit bull type dogs, stepped in to take custody of the dogs. Some of these dogs have been lucky enough to live in temporary foster care, where they have had ample opportunity socialize with people and other animals — and they’ve done great! Two will be transferred to Love-A-Bull this Friday.

More info on the South Carolina case and dogs is available here.

OHIO: In late December, 2011, 27 dogs were found in a dog fighting operation in Cleveland, Ohio. Suffering from physical wounds in filthy conditions, the dogs were removed and placed in the custody of the City of Cleveland Kennel. Love-A-Bull will be receiving four of these dogs.

We are especially excited about the Ohio dogs because their second chance is only possible thanks to Cleveland’s recent reversal of Breed-Discriminatory Legislation that used to treat pit bull type dogs as dangerous dogs. Thanks to the very hard work of passionate advocates, Cleveland has changed its policy, and just in time — the dogs seized in this bust are lovely animals deserving of their second chance. We are so proud to offer it to four of them here in Austin.

For more info on the Ohio dogs, click here.

Love-A-Bull needs foster homes and is accepting donations to support the care of these dogs. We are especially in need of toys, beds, and wet and dry food. Donations can be dropped off at Oak Hill Veterinary Clinic at 7101 Highway 71 West.

More information on each adoptable dog will be posted as it becomes available on

Now on video: “Texas Sized” Pittie Pride!

Ever wondered what a big old party with 1,000 pit bull type dogs would look like?

Those who attended Love-A-Bull’s National Pit Bull Awareness Day event –the “Texas Sized Pittie Pride parade and festival– already know. Those who were not lucky enough to be with us? Wonder no further. The official video is out!

We lost count at a few hundred, but word on the street is that more than 1,000 pit bull type dogs were in attendance — along with special guests actress Holly Marie Combs, musician John Shipe, BAD RAP founders Tim Racer and Donna Reynolds, YouTube star “Sharky”, and LeRoy Golden with frisbee phenoms Karma, Justice and Bruzair.

It’s been a couple of months since that amazing day in November, but we still have chills thinking about it, and this video (from the very talented Cynthia Stein) leaves us with hearts swelling with pittie pride, big wide grins, and teary eyes. We bet it’ll do the same to you.

Check it out:

Media Coverage | Pit Bull Awareness Weekend

Yes, it’s the much-anticipated first blog post after our crazy, busy weekend in celebration of National Pit Bull Awareness Day! Okay, maybe not but here’s a quick recap of the media coverage thus far, though many of you may have already seen some of the news stories and online articles.

Jim Swift once again took the time for an in-depth investigation piece and very lengthy story.
Story: Pit bull lovers campaign for ‘underdog’

You have seen or even spoken with Karen Brooks while she chatted with attendees in the middle of the action at Republic Square Park on Sunday. Her article even had a mini-feature on Justice, the most recent addition to LeRoy Golden’s crew of Frisbee dogs and an Animal Farm Foundation rescue alum.
Story: With a face like that, what’s not to love? Pit bull festival celebrates a misunderstood breed

Simple but improved (from last year) story, author unknown.
Story: Pit Bull Awareness Day

Steve Alberts’ and KVUE once again did an extremely brief and sebsationalized story that represents journalism at its worst.  The story was unethical, biased, and misled the public.  Shame on KVUE.

Not a story, but an event promo from last Thursday.
Promo: Weekend festival celebrates pit bull pride

Austin360 | A bunch of (pit) bull?

Hey, we’re in the newspaper and online! The Statesman’s Austin360 published a quick note about the main event this weekend. Yep, it’s really only a few days away now.

But wait — before you finish reading, don’t forget we also still have tickets available for the exclusive VIP Party on Saturday evening. A BIG thank you goes out to Austin Speed Shop, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Independence Brewery, ZuZu’s Handmade Mexican Food, Love Puppies Brownies, Waialua Soda Works, and Red Bull for making this event awesome!

From Austin360
Published: 1:10 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011




Texas-Sized Pittie Parade and festival. Love-A-Bull, the Austin nonprofit that advocates for the dog breeds commonly known as pit bulls, is behind the local event that’s part of National Pit Bull Awareness Day. The day starts with a parade; gather at 11:30 a.m. in the Statesman parking lot, 305 S. Congress Ave., if you want to participate. Adults, kids and dogs of any breed are welcome (all dogs must be on leash), with costumes encouraged. The parade will leave at noon and march down Congress Avenue toward Republic Square Park, where a festival will run from 1 to 5 p.m. With animal rescue groups, trainers, food and drink, games, music, giveways and more. Celebrity guests include Holly Marie Combs (“Charmed,” “Pretty Little Liars”), musician John Shipe and Austin 101X DJ Deb O’Keefe as master of ceremonies. Canine celebrities include YouTube star Sharky, flying Frisbee dog Karma and the Love-A-Bull Pit Crew, an all-pit-bull therapy dog group. Both events are free and open to the public. A kick-off VIP party and fundraiser is Saturday. That event, with special guests, music, food, drink and a silent auction, will be from 7 to 11 p.m. at Austin Speed Shop, 1414 S. Lamar Blvd. More information:

Read the online story here: A bunch of (pit) bull? Find it at the Texas-Sized Pittie Parade and festival.

Pit Crew at the Farmer’s Market

On Saturday, April 2nd, a few of our recently graduated Pit Crew therapy dogs were at the Cedar Park Farms to Market to hang out and do a little showing off too. Britagne Elliott, came by to film some of the activity. Britagne is a reporter for Texas Newswatch, a live broadcast program through the University of Texas’ School of Journalism.

More Paws-itive Press from Best Friends

Jessi & Jennifer from Best Friends also had a chance to watch our newest Pit Crew graduates showing off on Saturday.

Thanks to Jessi for the awesome write-up and to Jennifer for the great photography!

See the full article here:

Read a quick except below:

Austin’s First Pit Crew Class Graduates

March 31, 2011, 11:40AM MT
By Jessi Freud, Best Friends Network volunteer
Photos by Jennifer Hayes

Believed to be the first of its kind in the country, class of seven pit-bull-type dogs completes intensive therapy-dog training program…

On Saturday, March 27, 2011, I got to watch pit-bull terriers change lives at a local Austin elementary school. Clearly, not the venue you typically hear the media reporting on pit-bull terriers hanging out with their guardians on the weekend…

KXAN’s Paw-some News Coverage!

Updated: Jul 17, 2014 8:08 AM

This past Saturday, KXAN’s Jim Swift (Update: Now retired) stopped by Gullet Elementary to witness the very first graduating class of Pit Crew therapy dogs.

Here, the dogs and their trainers demonstrated skills in a realistic school environment. But the day wasn’t complete without the graduation ceremony!

Update: The full article is no longer available but you can view some related re-posts.

A big thank you to Jim for joining us to welcome these graduates!

101x Interview – November 5, 2010

Lydia, Meghan and Rescue Ink’s Johnny O. went on the air with Jason and Deb of 101x on November 5, 2010 to promote Love-A-Bull’s Pit Bull Awareness Day.

Check out Pitbull Power! on 101x’s blog and then listen to the clip: 101x Interview with Lydia, Meghan and Johnny O. from Rescue Ink.

Fox News Talks Layla and Pit Bull Awareness Day!

Beautiful Layla gets a bit of media spotlight and Love-A-Bull talks about its upcoming Pit Bull Awareness campaign!

Check out the video here:

Fox 7 Interviews Love-A-Bull on Pit Bulls and the Pit Bull Task Force

VIDEO: City May Form Pit Bull Task Force You can learn more about the

Love-A-Bull’s Lydia talks to the Press about Guardianship Responsibility!

Fox News talks to Love-A-Bull about responsible Pittie guardianship, and Love-A-Bull’s upcoming National Pit Bull Awareness Day.

And KVUE Questions Lydia About National Pit Bull Awareness Day:

Love-A-Bull Pooch Comforts Soldiers At Ft. Hood!

Ms. Mocha, a therapy dog, is proud to comfort members of our armed forces.  Pictured above with a female service-woman, who admitted that before she met Mocha, she was afraid of all pit bulls.  She sure did change her mind!  Click for the full story:  The Divine Ms. Mocha at Work!

Love-A-Bull takes a stand against chaining, seeks homes for rescued dogs

Dogs on chains raise concern in rural areas

Animal advocates want a statewide ban on tethering similar to Austin’s

Updated: 1:20 a.m. Monday, June 14, 2010
Published: 9:33 p.m. Sunday, June 13, 2010

MARTINDALE — When Titan and Ladybug came to Austin, the pair of 3-year-old pit bulls were in bad shape. Being chained to a stake in the ground all day since puppyhood had taken a toll on the dogs’ health.

Ladybug’s harness had started growing into her skin. She walks with a permanent hunch and can’t bark because of a damaged throat. Titan’s ribs were sticking out from malnourishment, and he had had his ears cut off with scissors. Both had heartworms, fleas and ticks.

In 2007, Austin passed an ordinance that punishes owners who chain their dogs with fines of up to $500. Dogs kept mostly outside must have an enclosure — such as a fence — with a minimum of 10 by 15 feet for each adult dog. In 2008, the City of Georgetown passed a ban on dog chaining as well.

But in rural areas such as Martindale, in Caldwell County, no laws keep dogs off chains, and animal advocacy groups say it is a problem for dogs and humans alike.

Titan and Ladybug are receiving care and are waiting for a home at the Canine Hilton shelter in East Austin after members of the Austin nonprofit Love-A-Bull persuaded their Martindale owners to let them have the dogs for $200.

Although both dogs had suffered from the chaining, there was no indication they were being used for fighting, and both have playful, friendly temperaments. Martindale Police Chief Jeff Caldwell said no citations were issued against their owners.

“While not the ideal situation for those dogs, it’s not necessarily illegal,” he said.

Love-A-Bull has helped five dogs from Martindale this year, all of whom were victims of chaining. The group mostly does education and advocacy work, member Lydia Zaidman said, but it acted to rescue the dogs in this case because of the extreme situation.

Animal control resources — including money for enforcement officers and shelters — are scarce in rural Central Texas, and education about the dangers of chaining dogs is hard to come by, animal advocates said.

Caldwell County’s strays usually end up at the Lockhart Animal Shelter, a facility on Old McMahan Road. The shelter houses about 56 dogs and 24 cats daily, with an average of 180 animals a month. Its $267,000 annual budget comes from the City of Lockhart, Caldwell County and donations.

By comparison, Austin’s Town Lake Animal Center has an annual budget of $5.5 million and cares for about 23,000 animals a year. The city has plans to build a new $12 million facility in East Austin.

Melanie Tucker , Lockhart’s director of animal services, said the city bans leaving restrained dogs outside and unattended for long periods. Chaining is more of a problem in rural areas, where enforcement is left to two Caldwell County sheriff animal control officers and where chaining often is unreported, she said.

Animal advocates say chaining dogs is inhumane, encourages aggressive behavior and makes dogs more territorial.

“There is a total lack of understanding about why chaining is so bad for dogs,” Zaidman said.

Zaidman said her own pit bull, rescued after up to three years of being chained up alone, has no teeth from trying to gnaw the chain off.

Lyndon Poole, a member of Chain Free Austin , among the groups that pushed for Austin’s chaining ban, said that children who wander near chained dogs are in danger because of the dogs’ increased aggressive behavior. Many people think that chaining a dog in their yard will offer protection, but Poole said chaining prevents the dog from properly bonding with humans.

“A dog is better able to protect you if it’s inside your home and not restrained by a chain,” he said.

Since the Austin law passed, Poole said he sees fewer dogs on chains these days. “Unfortunately, those laws stop outside the city limits,” he said.

Patt Nordyke , executive director of the Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies, said the federation and other groups are pushing for a statewide ban on dog chaining but that they aren’t optimistic because of the current budget crunch.

A bill signed into law after the 2007 legislative session put some restrictions on tethering dogs, including making it a Class C misdemeanor to leave a dog within 500 feet of a school or in extreme weather, such as freezing temperatures or during a heat advisory.

Nordyke, Zaidman and others want to see a state law that mandates an enclosure for dogs kept outside, similar to Austin’s ordinance.

“The state needs to do something because these towns won’t do it,” Zaidman said.; 512-392-8750

101X (101.5 FM) interviews John Garcia for Love-A-Bull’s Pit Bull Awareness Weekend

101X (101.5 FM) interviewed John Garcia for Love-A-Bull’s Pit Bull Awareness Weekend!

The interview took place on 10/21/09. Listen to the interview (mp3).

Austin-American Statesman’s Charity Chat picks up our Pit Bull Awareness Weekend Press Release

View the press release here:

Best Friends Network spreads the word about Love-A-Bull’s Pit Bull Awareness Weekend

Our Pit Bull Awareness Weekend piqued the interest of Best Friends, especially with special guest John Garcia attending!

Check out the article here:

Examiner covers Pittie Pride and Memorial Walk

The Pittie Pride and Memorial Walk, which was both a chance to show off our great dogs and a way to remember the victims of dog fighting who cannot speak for themselves, was a great success. Despite the possibility of bad weather, nearly 40 members and their dogs attended the walk. We attracted quite a sight downtown!

Read the Examiner article about the walk here:

Love-A-Bull member sells her team spirit on eBay

Love-A-Bull’s Lydia Zaidman placed her team spirit up for auction on eBay after the Philadelphia Eagles signed dogfigher Michael Vick to their team. The winning bidder chose which team Lydia would root for for the rest of the season. The proceeds from the auction went to Love-A-Bull.

KEYE-TV featured this story on their evening news.


Good Day Austin (FOX) segment about Love-A-Bull

Fox News interviewed Love-A-Bull’s Lydia Zaidman about the pit bull’s bad rap and about our free training classes for members! (Please allow a few seconds to load video.)

Can’t view it? Click here: Beating the Bad Rap of Pit Bulls

Fox 7 news segment about Love-A-Bull’s therapy pit bulls

Two Love-A-Bull therapy dogs appeared on the news while working at the Camp Mabry Heroes Celebration.

Can’t view it? Click here: Pit Bulls Dispel Myths at Camp Mabry

Love-A-Bull protests illegal BSL in Madisonville

Love-A-Bull members went to Madisonville, TX, to protest the passage of breed-specific legislation in that city and to try to educate city leaders about safer, more effective alternative dog laws. Breed-specific legislation is not legal in Texas.

Read the coverage at these links:
KBTX Coverage
Best Friends Coverage