StubbyDog Wants Everyone to Rediscover the Pit Bull

Jambo is one dashing dog, sporting a StubbyDog Crochet for Spays bowtie along with a charismatic canine smile. (Photo by Louise Stapleton Frappell)

Jambo is one dashing dog, sporting a StubbyDog Crochet for Spays bowtie along with a charismatic canine smile. (Photo by Louise Stapleton Frappell)

StubbyDog, a non-profit organization founded in 2011, has been tirelessly working to debunk the negative myths and misinformation about pit bulls by changing the conversation to focus on the positive qualities of the dogs. A pit bull is not one breed of dog. Instead, “pit bull” is the name commonly given to several breeds that resemble each other, including American Staffordshire Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers.

The StubbyDog website and social media platforms offer numerous stories of pit bulls as heroes, athletes, therapy and rescue dogs, and, perhaps most importantly, as everyday, ordinary, lovable, loyal family pets.

In the past couple of years, StubbyDog has shifted its focus to community outreach efforts to prevent or overturn breed-specific legislation (BSL). BSL is the umbrella term for laws passed at the state or local level that restrict or ban certain breeds in the hopes of reducing dog attacks. Not surprisingly, the erroneous information that has falsely branded pit bulls as dangerous dogs, has led to pit bulls, and any dogs that resemble them, being a prime target of BSL in some parts of the country.

StubbyDog’s current Executive Director, Mitzi Bolanos, who has been with the organization since 2013, is no stranger to BSL. An animal rights attorney and advocate, Bolanos grew up in Miami, where, at the time, there was a ban against pit bulls. She never even met one until she moved to Washington, D.C., and began to volunteer at an animal shelter. Bolanos remembers being surprised to see how gentle and loving pit bulls really were. “No matter what you hear, no matter what you think,” she says, “just meet one. I am promising you’ll find a new, loving family member.”

Under Bolanos’s leadership, StubbyDog is empowering individuals to attend local council and board meetings and speak up on behalf of pit bulls and against BSL. The website offers individuals and local communities a packet of information about pit bulls, animal behavior, dog bite statistics, and much more that they can share at these meetings. There are also talking points available on how to present information at a meeting in a brief, measured, efficient, and professional manner.

StubbyDogBolanos is happy to report that BSL has been losing momentum and is even being overturned in places were it had existed. Apparently, several key studies, including one conducted by an American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force for the Center for Disease Control have shown that BSL has had no impact on reducing the number of dog bites or attacks. In addition, in a 2013 statement, the Obama administration came out against BSL. Today, no statewide BSL exists and, in fact, 17 states have laws that prohibit BSL from being enacted at the state level (including New York and Florida).

In addition to its on-going anti-BSL advocacy, according to Bolanos, StubbyDog receives numerous e-mails from people in situations where they might have to surrender their dog due to behavioral issues, high veterinary bills, or simple prejudice against the breed. They intercede on a case-by-case basis, holding fundraisers for medical bills, locating local trainers to help with any behavioral concerns, and even speaking directly to landlords about housing issues.

Bolanos tells about one family that had a high-energy pit bull and lived in an apartment complex. The dog was not aggressive but the stereotype against pit bulls and the dog’s demeanor nevertheless caused a few residents to be frightened when they saw the dog. The family lived in an area where, according to the local law, if the dog did attack someone and, for any reason they could not pay any attendant costs, then their landlord would be held liable. The landlord wanted the family to either move or get rid of the dog. The family contacted StubbyDog and the organization paid for behavioral training for the dog. In addition, they advised the family to offer the landlord a sizable deposit against any liability. As a result of these actions, the dog was able to remain in the home and no incidents have ever occurred.

As part of their efforts to reduce the number of pit bulls in shelters, StubbyDog advocates spaying and neutering pets (dressing girly is optional). (Photo by Eric Falck)

As part of their efforts to reduce the number of pit bulls in shelters, StubbyDog advocates spaying and neutering pets (dressing girly is optional). (Photo by Eric Falck)

As StubbyDog moves forward, Bolanos says, “an area of focus will be to build community awareness for the breed in the South.” Toward that goal, she is excited to report that in early October, StubbyDog, for the first time, will be partnering with the Sula Foundation in presenting one of the Foundation’s low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinic in New Orleans. While both organizations focus on pit bulls, any eligible pet will be welcome to the services offered.

StubbyDog also has a Crochets for Spays initiative, whereby crocheted items for pets and people to wear (everything from canine bowties to crocheted floral hair bands for women) are donated to the organization for sale. One hundred percent of the proceeds go into the organization’s spay and neuter media campaign.

In recognition of its work to present the positive points about pit bulls, in July 2014, StubbyDog received the Broadway Barks Award at Broadway Barks’ (an organization founded by Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters) annual adoption event held in Shubert Alley in New York City.

“It’s wonderful to save one dog at a time,” says Bolanos, “but to also be instrumental in passing laws that saves thousands of dogs feels great!” In its relatively few short years of existence, StubbyDog has managed to do both those things.


Sergeant Stubby is perhaps the most decorated pit bull mix of all time. Here he is wearing his army coat and medals from his service in World War I.

Sergeant Stubby is perhaps the most decorated pit bull mix of all time. Here he is wearing his army coat and medals from his service in World War I.

Meet Stubby

StubbyDog is named in honor of a pit bull mix named Stubby who became a decorated World War I war hero after starting his life as a stray. Stubby’s owner, an American soldier, took the dog with him when he was deployed overseas and Stubby served with the 102nd Infantry Regiment in France for well over a year. After the war, Stubby received many honors and met three United States Presidents. He is a shining example of how special a pit bull mix — or any dog — can be.






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Matilda the Algonquin Cat to Host Benefit for NYC’s Shelter Pets


Matilda & FURiends Salute BroadwayOn August 2, please join us for a feline fashion show and reception, hosted by Matilda the Algonquin Cat at the Algonquin Hotel, to benefit the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals!

Matilda & FURiends Salute Broadway
Saturday, August 2, 2014
3:00–7:00 p.m.: Kitten Adoptions
5:00–7:30: Reception, Feline Fashion Show, Raffle & Fundraiser
The Algonquin Hotel, 59 West 44th Street, New York, NY

  • On Broadway themed cat fashion show by Ada Nieves for Pets, where nine MEWdels will be dressed to the nines (for each of their lives)
  • Special appearances by Tara the Hero Cat, who was captured on video saving her young human friend from a dog attack, and Vito Vincent, the formerly homeless feline star of Broadway’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s and television’s 30 Rock and The Colbert Report.
  • Kitten adoptions by Alliance Participating Organization, Bobbi and the Strays, on the Alliance adoption van in front of the hotel (open to the public, 3:00-7:00 p.m.).

Minimum $40 entrance donation is requested; additional donations will be accepted. Reservations are strongly recommended and seating is limited. Please note that no pets are allowed. Please contact Alice de Almeida at (212) 419-9197 to purchase tickets.

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Posted in Cats, Events & Campaigns, Fundraising, Pet Adoption | 8 Comments

Stars and Adoptable Pets Headline 16th Annual Broadway Barks

Broadway Barks
Dogs, cats, celebrities, and plenty of positive energy will fill Shubert Alley when Broadway Barks celebrates its 16th year of saving lives!

Broadway Barks
Saturday, July 12, 2014
3:00-6:30 p.m.
Shubert Alley, West of Broadway, between 44th and 45th Streets, between Broadway and 8th Avenue, NYC

Broadway Barks, the legendary pet adoption and awareness event created by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore and produced by Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, begins at 3:00 p.m., when potential adopters can meet dozens of wonderful dogs and cats awaiting new homes from more than 25 animal shelters and rescue groups, all of which are members of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals. Then at 5:00 p.m., an exciting lineup of celebrities will introduce some of these wonderful animals from the stage. The event is free and open to the public.

Early Birds get a special treat at noon, when Bernadette Peters, along with illustrator, Liz Murphy, will sign copies of the 2014 Broadway Barks poster and Playbill. Murphy, who designed this year’s Broadway Barks graphic has also designed Bernadette’s new children’s book slated for Spring 2015 publication.

Broadway Barks 2014 CalendarsAlso available for purchase at the event, while supplies last:

Broadway Barks 2014 Calendars, featuring photos of two- and four-legged stars from previous Broadway Barks. Autographed by Bernadette Peters, with unsigned copies also available.

Broadway Barks Autographed Hounds, personally signed by Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore. Only four of these limited-edition, black, pillow-soft stuffed dogs, sporting a specially designed Broadway Barks collar, are still available.

We hope to see you at Broadway Barks!

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Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Cats, Dogs, Events & Campaigns, Pet Adoption, Picasso Veterinary Fund | Leave a comment

Construction Workers Rescue Stowaway Cat, Look to Alliance for Help

Fully vetted and bathed after his incredible journey, Paddy is now available for adoption from the Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals.

Fully vetted and bathed after his incredible journey, Paddy is now available for adoption from the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

On June 19, when a shipment of hot water pipes from Pennsylvania arrived at the site of a new building being constructed on West 21st Street at 11th Avenue in Manhattan, workers at the site discovered a little something extra in the shipment. As one of the 20-foot sections of pipe was lifted 200 feet into the air by crane to be placed into a column drilled into the building structure, a dirty, scraggly looking, gray and white adult male cat dropped out of the pipe and jumped into a hole leading down to the floor below.

The concerned construction workers reacted swiftly, and cut into the column enclosure to free the frightened cat. But instead of allowing the workers to rescue him, he ran out and straight to an unprotected edge of some wooden planking more than 150 feet in the air. The workers tried to coax him to come closer, but to no avail. Instead, the frightened cat moved so close to the edge that his hindquarters were dangling over the edge of the slab.

After about 45 minutes of gentle coaxing, Paddy, one of the construction workers, was able to extend his arm far enough to drop a box over the cat. He slowly pulled the box away from the floor edge. When the box was in a more secure spot, he cut a small hole in the top of the box, reached in, scruffed the cat, and placed him into a deep bucket. The workers carried the cat to the construction trailer, where they left him overnight with food and water. He settled in, ate the food, and apparently explored the trailer overnight, as evidenced by kitty footprints on some office paperwork and a pile of fur on one of the desk chair cushions.

Paddy was named in honor of the construction worker who patiently coaxed him away from a 200-foot ledge to safety.

Paddy was named in honor of the construction worker who patiently coaxed him away from a 200-foot ledge to safety.

The next day, the workers contacted the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’S Animals for help. We enlisted a rescuer from an Alliance Participating Organization to pick up the cat, who we named Paddy after his rescuer, and took him to one of our partner veterinarians. Paddy did not have a microchip, and attempts to determine the origin of the pipes in which he traveled (in the hopes of determining Paddy’s town of origin) were unsuccessful. So Paddy, who already was neutered and determined to be six-to-eight years old, was microchipped, vaccinated, de-wormed, and provided much-needed dental work and a bath. Paddy is currently recovering from his ordeal and resting comfortably at the vet’s office, awaiting adoption.

Paddy definitely has the luck of the Irish, and is looking forward to his new life in the Big Apple. Like so many Little New Yorkers, he was only one good deed away from finding a new beginning. Won’t you help us give more Little New Yorkers the second chances they deserve? Let your donation be your good deed today that helps save a life. Donate now.

And by the way, if you think Paddy might make the perfect addition to your family, e-mail us at



Adopt This Pet Save a Life. Donate Now.

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Protect Your Pets from Fourth of July Fireworks & Other Summer Hazards


PRPhoto-4thofJuly01Sizzling summer temperatures also pose threats to pets

Monday, June 30, 2014 – New York, NY – With the Fourth of July right around the corner and the Farmers’ Almanac predicting a hot and humid summer in New York City, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals advises pet owners to take precautions to keep their furry friends safe from summertime hazards.

Jane Hoffman, President of the Alliance, said, “While for many New Yorkers, Fourth of July fireworks are a favorite summertime highlight, fireworks can pose serious threats to our pets. As responsible pet owners, we need to take precautions to ensure their safety and well-being. These simple tips can help ease your pet’s fear and anxiety caused by firecrackers and reduce the likelihood that your pet will run away and become lost.”

  • Take your dog for a walk before the fireworks begin. A good long walk or exercise can tire the dog out and help keep her calm when the explosions begin.
  • Keep pets indoors when fireworks are underway. Close the windows and curtains, and if you can, run the air conditioner or the television to cut down on the noise and excessive flashes of light. Darkness can be calming to pets in these situations.
  • Fireworks can be scary for pets. Try not to leave your pets home alone. Be there to comfort them. Create a comforting place of escape for them — perhaps a box, a crate, or a comfy place to curl up.
  • Do not under any circumstances bring pets to an outdoor fireworks display. At the very least it will frighten them, and there is a great risk that they will escape from you and become lost. And no matter what time of year, make sure your dogs and cats are microchipped and are wearing proper ID tags.

If your pet becomes lost, immediately file a Lost Pet Report with Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C), go to your nearest AC&C Care Center to look for your pet, and search AC&C’s Found Pet Database. For more information about what to do if you lose or find a pet, visit

Hoffman cautioned that even when the Fourth of July is over, there are other summer hazards. She added, “Dogs and cats are particularly vulnerable in high heat and humidity. Following a few common sense tips and taking some precautions will keep your pet safe, healthy, happy and comfortable, so everyone can enjoy this warm weather season.”

  • Never leave your pet unattended in a parked car, even for a “minute.”Even with a window cracked open, a parked car can heat up dramatically and pose immediate danger to an animal. If you see a pet in a parked car, seek out a police officer or call 9-1-1 for help.
  • Don’t take your dogs out during the hottest time of the day. This will help protect them from overheating and sunburn. Yes! Your dog can get sunburn. Also, remember that asphalt, blacktop, and concrete can get hot! Make sure to pick up the little ones (25 pounds and under) who are close to the ground. The radiating heat can contribute to your dog overheating, and burn their paws.
  • If you take your dog for a walk in hot, humid conditions, wet his or her coat thoroughly — including the paws and outside of the ears — before you leave home. Bring water!
  • Limit your dog’s exercise. A dog’s temperature can soar to 106 degrees in a flash. If your dog begins to exhibit signs of distress — heavy panting, difficulty breathing, bright red tongue, vomiting, and/or unsteadiness — get him to a cool place and call your veterinarian.
  • Make sure your cats and dogs always have access to clean, fresh water.
  • Check that your window screens are secure to protect your pets — especially cats — from falling out.

Report a Lost/Found Pet Learn More

Mayor's Alliance for NYC's AnimalsAbout the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals®
The Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity that works with more than 150 partner rescue groups and shelters to offer important programs and services that save the lives of NYC’s homeless animals. We are supported entirely by donations from foundations, corporations, and individuals and receive no government funding. Since our founding in 2003, we have remained committed to transforming New York City into a no-kill community by 2015, meaning that no dogs or cats of reasonable health and temperament will be killed merely because they do not have homes.

Media Contact

Courtney Savoia, LAK Public Relations, Inc.
Phone: (212) 329-1408

Posted in Animal Care & Control of NYC, Cats, Dogs, Microchipping, Pet Care & Training, Press Release, Safety/Emergency | Leave a comment