For those who fear Pit Bulls, consider the case of petite Jean Shafiroff. It wasn't her first choice for a pet. But, after daughter Elizabeth brought two home, Jean learned to love the breed. So much, in fact, that she threw her second "Save the Pit Bull" party with Patrick McMullan, in honor of the upcoming Southampton Animal Shelter Unconditional Gala on Saturday, July 18th, that she, once again, will chair.
"There are 38 Pits in the Southampton Animal Shelter," said Jean. "So this is part of their message. They are generally the first on line in city shelters to be euthanized. They are discriminated against much in the way German Shepherds were after World War II."
Jean, too, initially shied away from the breed. But, when daughters are involved, it's a different story. "When Elizabeth first adopted Daisy, who was on an euthanization list, she looked like she had been 'bait,' an abused dog," remembers Jean. "She was frightened, meek, submissive. And, she has turned out to be the most caring dog."
Then came Bella. She too was on doggy death row, so Elizabeth took her to be fostered while they found a permanent home. "They put up signs in Southampton looking for someone to adopt her," remembered Jean. "My husband would go around and take down the signs because he wanted to keep Bella. I agreed and I fell in love with her. She's a very loving and beautiful dog."
Shafiroff credits the underground Pit Bull fights for perpetuating the scary stereotype. "It's so mean and awful. Our NYC Police Department — for whom I have the highest regard — is trying to break them up. But they're hidden, so it's not easy. The good news is: more and more people are realizing Pits make great pets and adopting them. They're very devoted and loving."
And very social. "They love to be in a room with lots of people," Jean said. "Remember how they greeted everyone at the party?" Of course, they're Jean's dogs!
For more information about Southampton Animal Shelter, visit www.southamptonanimalshelter.com.