Teen Justice

October 26, 2011  

A Wisconsin teenager organizes her town to fight breed-discriminatory legislation

By Nicole Scrima

Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of having a pit bill. I used to go to the local shelter and look at all the ones who were waiting for a home. As I got older, I started educating myself about the breed and dog behavior by reading books and online articles. I begged my dad for pit bulls from the shelter every time we’d go, or I’d go on Petfinder and try to convince him to adopt one.

I finally found the dog of my dreams.

On July 9, 2011, my family and a few friends drove up to Green Bay, Wis., to pick up the new addition. The second I saw that puppy, I knew that he would change my life. He was scared, so I picked him up and he instantly kissed my neck. I was in love. From that moment on Capone, as I named him, became everything to me.

I knew I would never let anything hurt him, and I knew that I’d not only fight for his rights but for the rights of all pit bulls. I started fighting breed discriminatory legislation (BDL) before I even had a pit bull of my own. I went around trying to educate others and trying to change as many minds as I could. Once I got Capone, fighting BDL became a lot easier because I had an example of what a pit bull could be. I made sure that Capone was a great example of the breed by taking him everywhere and by putting him through obedience classes. I also started training him to compete in agility and started working on therapy training. I wanted to prove to everybody that pit bulls are able to do anything other dogs can do.

Capone is my best friend, my heart and my life. He cheers me up when I’m sad, he is great at keeping secrets, he always listens, and he doesn’t ask for much in return.

When my own city of Waukesha started considering a pit bull ban, I was shocked. I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know what. I made a Facebook event titled “Save the Pits Peaceful Demonstration.” Within a few days, more than 200 people signed up to come, and the night before the protest there were more than 400 people. I planned it to be downtown because there is live music every Friday, which many people come to see. I contacted local news stations and a few local papers so that this issue could really be brought to the public eye.

Even though 400 people did not show up, a fairly large number of people came. The local newspaper came to interview me, and they were shocked to hear I was 16 years old. I reminded everyone to stay respectful and to be great examples of pit bull guardians.

We walked through downtown for about an hour with our signs and handed out sheets with facts about pit bulls. Many people cheered us on, and a local coffee shop even wore shirts in support of our walk. It was amazing to see more than 100 pit bull lovers walking in support. At the end I thanked everybody, and we took a group picture.

The alderperson who originally proposed the ban withdrew their original proposal. The city is now looking into a dangerous dog ordinance instead. Even though the proposal for a pit bull ban was withdrawn, it doesn’t mean we are in the clear. They can bring back the ban at anytime, and you can bet all of us will continue to fight for our pit bulls until they’re safe. Even then we will continue to fight for other pit bulls around the world. I know that my purpose in life is to help these dogs, and that’s what I’ll continue to do. They don’t have a voice; they cannot stand up for themselves. We need to speak for them and protect them.

Capone is my first pit bull, but he will not be my last. I hope to open up a pit bull rehab center someday so that I can help all the pit bulls that got a rough start to life.

For now, I will use Capone to show people how amazing these dogs can be.

Even if I only change one person’s mind, it’s worth it.

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11 Responses to “Teen Justice”
  1. skreidle says:

    Young lady, you are *awesome* and an inspiration. 😀

  2. JillianManning says:

    This is awesome, great work Nicole, keep it up. You are definitely inspiring to all of us.

  3. AmandaC.Lee says:

    What an amazing story, and very inspirational. Thank you, Nicole, for your hard work and dedication to protect this lovable breed. On a different note, the picture of you holding the full grown Capone is wonderfully adorable.

  4. StuartFisk says:

    Wow!!! Nicole, you have already done more good than most people will provide to the world in their entire lifetime. Very inspirational story, and I am sure you will not only accomplish a lot of good things for pit bulls, but with your drive and ingenuity you will be certain to accomplish great things in whatever you set your mind to. Keep it up!! 🙂

  5. effcla says:

    Thank you Nicole. Not only are you a great ambassador against breed discrimination, you are a great ambassador for teenagers! And Capone is a beautiful dog. You can see he is loved and well taken care of. 🙂

  6. antgwg says:

    Thank you for showing people the true meaning of a pit, loyal and loving. Awesome Job!!

  7. melissal says:

    So inspiring, great job Nicole, you are a terrific advocate, you and Capone keep up the great work!

  8. AndreaF says:

    NICOLE, YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! You are such an inspiration to everyone. Thank you so much!

    Oh, and Capone is one handsome Pitty 🙂

  9. Made me cry! What an amazing story!!

    Nicole, I so wish we had more people like you in the world. You are a true blessing to your community.

    And Capone is just the most handsomest ever!

  10. JessicaFagerstrom says:

    Great job!