Actress Victoria Vertuga supports Angel City Pit Bulls – A charity that saves pit bulls and gives them a forever home
By Nastassia Putz – Muze Staff Writer
Pit bull advocacy is growing across the nation with the use of celebrity faces and campaigns steering the public eye towards high euthanasia rates in shelters, backyard breeders and dogfighters.
To become a pit bull advocate means more than just planting a face on an anti-dogfighting campaign. It’s about getting your hands dirty.
For 25-year-old freelance model and actress Victoria Vertuga it’s about volunteering her time and home to this misunderstood breed. It’s about opening up her heart and mind to a cause that sheds light on a nationwide epidemic.
Q: Describe your first encounter with a pit bull?
A: Up until I started volunteering I’d only really had brief encounters with pitties. My first in depth experience was at the shelter. Her name was Bella. She was black with white markings and one of the sweetest dogs I’d ever met. She was completely mellow, nonplussed by anything. She’d rest her head on my thigh after walks and it melted my heart. She’s a happily adopted Angel City alum now. :)
Q: What advice do you have for someone who has never considered the breed?
A: Anyone looking to adopt a dog period needs to realize it’s a serious commitment. Dogs require attention, exercise and discipline, so make sure you have the time and means to provide that. Owner surrenders account for a lot of dogs in shelters because people aren’t ready or able to handle the responsibility of pet ownership.
So definitely make sure you’re ready before you consider adopting. Pits are wonderful and loyal dogs but they definitely require a strong owner. I think they’re usually the best fit for people who have had some experience with dogs because they can be stubborn and test boundaries. They’re generally very smart, incredibly quick learners, super affectionate towards people and very resilient. They’re generally medium energy and will roll with the owner’s lifestyle.
If an owner is more active, they will be too. If an owner is mellow, they’re often content to just hang. Obviously, like any breed, individual personalities vary. Our pits are our best friends. We have so much fun with them and they make us laugh everyday.
Q: What are your plans for the near future when it comes to volunteering?
A: I plan to keep volunteering at the shelter and with rescues. I’d love to get more involved, possibly end up on the board, and as my profile grows as an actress to keep bringing awareness and helping to educate and advocate for the breed and for the importance of adopting from shelters and reducing the number of animals that are euthanized.
Q: How can people help?
A: Pits are overrepresented in shelters across the country. Adopting directly from shelters or from rescues that pull from shelters is obviously the first way to help reduce the number of them in shelters (and making sure to never support backyard breeders). Lots of cities have dog rescue organizations that people can get involved with.
If you can’t adopt you could consider fostering a dog until a suitable home is found or doing volunteer work with rescues or directly with shelters. Monetary donations to rescues and shelters are obviously huge as well. If you are a pit owner, being a responsible owner is so important. Making sure you have a well-trained dog that can be an ambassador for the breed and help dispel some of the negative stereotypes about the breed.
Many places offer canine good citizen certifications. Lots of neighborhoods or apartment buildings that don’t allow bully breeds will make exceptions if your dog is CGC certified. Make sure to spay or neuter your pet. It prevents accidental pregnancies, which create more dogs without homes.
Vertuga volunteers for a Los Angeles based shelter called Angel City Pit Bulls. For more information visit their website at www.angelcitypits.org or Facebook page. Adoptions are held the second Sunday of each month.
Vertuga is also promoting the website for the No Kill LA Movement, which if passed could help the breed tremendously. According to their website, “Last year, over 56,000 dogs and cats entered Los Angeles city shelters. More than 17,000 beautiful, healthy or treatable shelter pets were killed. 17,000. That number should be zero. And it can be.” Please visit www.nkla.org for more information.
Tags: Actress, Angel City Pit Bulls, freelance model, high euthanasia rates, Los Angeles, pit bulls, rescues, shelters, Victoria Vertuga, rescue shelters, saving dogs, dog charity, model, pit bull rescue, pit bull shelter, animal rescue, animal shelter, angel city pit bulls
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