StubbyDog Hero: Stephanie Feldstein

November 1, 2011  

President of Pit Bull Rescue Central


Q: Can you tell StubbyDog readers about Pit Bull Rescue Central (PBRC)?

A: Pit Bull Rescue Central was founded in 1996 as a single webpage, with the idea of harnessing the power of the Internet to gain exposure for homeless pit bulls. Fifteen years later, we’re much more than a single webpage, and although we’re not the only organization on the virtual block anymore that’s devoted to helping pit bulls, there are a few things that make PBRC unique.

PBRC is a virtual shelter: We don’t have a physical location and, although many of our volunteers are personally involved in rescue, PBRC does not take in dogs. This allows us to focus on helping others place pit bulls and on providing the resources to keep dogs in their homes.

Our dog listings program gives homeless pit bulls much needed exposure, and we also review adoption applications to help rescue groups, shelters and individuals screen potential adopters to find the best match for the dogs in their care. We offer financial assistance to rescued pit bulls, not only in large-scale emergencies, such as natural disasters and dog fighting busts, but also to rescue groups and guardians facing medical emergencies and those who need assistance getting their dogs spayed or neutered. We have educational resources ranging from training tips to fighting breed-discriminatory legislation to kid-friendly materials. And if guardians, rescuers or the public can’t find what they need online, our experienced volunteers answer e-mail inquiries 24/7.

Last, but definitely not least, PBRC is an all-volunteer organization. Our amazing crew of 43 volunteers from across the United States, as well as Canada and Europe, includes rescuers, shelter workers, trainers, veterinary professionals, people who compete in dog sports and do therapy work with their rescued dogs, plus the web gurus, writers, artists, fundraisers, and all-around amazing people who have dedicated themselves to making the world a better place for pit bulls.

Q: How did you get involved in PBRC and what first got you involved with pit bull type dogs?

A: About a decade ago, I was working at the local animal shelter when a terrified young pit bull mix was brought in. I didn’t really think about her breed, except that the shelter had a no-adopt policy on pit bulls at the time. The only local rescue that took in pit bulls was full, and she deserved a chance. I took her home to foster her until the rescue group had room for her. It took a lot of work to start bringing her out of her shell (which seemed to be more a result of severe under-socialization than any specific abuse), and as she became more comfortable, her silliness started to emerge. She’s a total pit bull clown. But I still didn’t give her breed much thought … until we had a breed ban scare.

I turned to the web to learn what breed-discriminatory legislation would mean for us and how I could protect my dog. That’s when I found PBRC. I connected with the pit bull rescue community online, as well as some volunteers in my area, and a couple years later, I became a volunteer myself.

There’s an incredible community of people who understand just how amazing these dogs are, and I’m honored to be among them. I’ve had many foster dogs over the years who have gone on to wonderful homes, but there are currently three pit bulls who have permanently taken over my couches: Turtle (the one who got me into pit bulls, and is probably responsible for bully breed adoptions among several of my friends), Moby and Wilbur.

Q: How has PBRC evolved and grown so far, and what are your future goals for it?

A: PBRC has grown from one woman’s vision of helping pit bulls to a community of people dedicated to making the world a better place for these dogs. We’re in an exciting period of growth right now. The leaders who built PBRC to the organization it is today passed the torch to a new executive committee this year, who have stepped into their roles with fresh ideas and enthusiasm for the future of PBRC. A couple of the projects we’re working on include building our educational and outreach tools, and taking our mission offline by providing more on-the-ground assistance and expertise at large-scale rescue operations.

Q: If there were one thing you could convey to the general public about pit bulls, what would it be (in one sentence)?

A: Don’t believe everything you see on TV or read in the headlines: Talk to local rescuers and families who share their lives with these dogs and see for yourself what friendly, loving, playful companions pit bulls really are.

Q: I’m sure dealing with the overwhelming number of requests for help PBRC gets can be overwhelming – how do you stay positive and motivated?

A: The credit for that goes to my dogs. Not only do they make me laugh on a daily basis, but their ridiculous antics make me want to help other people understand what they’re missing out on when they discount these dogs and, of course, to help other dogs find their way into loving homes.

We can’t save them all – yet – but one dog at a time, we’re making a difference. And to that dog, the people who get to know that dog, it’s huge.

Q: We think you’re a hero. If you could have one superpower to make a difference for pit bulls, what would it be?

A: To change breed bans and policies that restrict pit bulls into programs that help the dogs instead. Imagine if, with one visit to Denver, I could use my superpowers to turn it into a haven of pit bull adoptions, training classes, anti-dog fighting initiatives and low-cost spay/neuter programs!

Note: The dogs featured, Zoey and Fiona, are available for adoption through Pit Bull Rescue Central.

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Comments

2 Responses to “StubbyDog Hero: Stephanie Feldstein”
  1. RedDawgs says:

    Nice information about the awesome website that is PBRC. Loved to see my long tongued foster girly in there, Zoey. PBRC contributed to her surgery, shortly after she was rescued from a sad situation and diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament.I learned about PBRC over 10 years ago, when I adopted my pit bull Ice (formerly Chloe) from Sanya, a PBRC volunteer. My Ice passed away two weeks ago, due to a tumor in her heart and she was a great example of the many awesome dogs who are advertised on PBRC. I had a few dogs advertise there for adoption as well, that ended up placed or staying with me.Thanks to all of the PBRC team for continuing to do what they are doing, and those who started it.

    Val

  2. AnnColeman says:

    Stephanie Feldstein has been a fantastic champion of pit bull type dogs as well as a model for other activists in the field. She is accessible, authentic, and generous and I appreciate the help she has given me and so many others.