Hero Dog Now Homeless

It’s every parent’s nightmare. Waking up to an early morning blazing fire in your home and realizing it is not a dream.  Your precious children are sleeping in their beds.  Dazed and panic-stricken, you call for your kids in a desperate attempt to get them to safety.

That’s what happened to Darryl Steen this past October.  But if it weren’t for his pit bull puppy Diamond awakening him from a sound sleep with her barking – an unusual behavior for the dog even during normal circumstances – Steen and his daughters, Sierra and Darahne, would have surely perished in the blaze.
Quick Thinking

Steen was able to drop his nine-year-old daughter out of a second story window to safety, unharmed.  His sixteen-year-old daughter, hearing her dad call, ran to his room and tried to protect herself by getting under the mattress.  She suffered smoke inhalation and some burns over seven percent of her body. As it was, Steen and Diamond suffered burns that still require treatment.
Steen has third degree burns on his hand, arm, back and feet. Diamond also suffered burns over 30 percent of her body, which caused nerve damage to one leg.  Check out a photo of Diamond’s injuries.

The reason Diamond sustained such bad burns was because she was protecting Steen’s older daughter by lying on top of the mattress until firefighters arrived and rescued them both. Diamond would not desert her family.


Steen and his daughter spent several weeks recovering in the hospital.  While the family lost all their worldly possessions, Steen told me in an interview “I don’t care.  All that matters is I have my family.  We are all alive and well.” He went on to say “All the things we lost in the fire…’oh, well.’  I don’t care.  All three of my girls are alive.”

For her heroic efforts, Diamond was a finalist in the HSUS Fourth Annual Dogs of Valor Awards and although she didn’t win, she is a hero just the same.

Breed Discrimination

The problem Steen and his family are facing is trying to find a landlord who will rent to Steen and Diamond.  Because she is a pit bull, at least 20 potential landlords have refused to rent to the Steen family.

Diamond is adored for her unconditional love and loyalty to her family.  She is temporarily staying with Steen’s sister until they can find a pit bull-friendly landlord.  The Steens will not give Diamond away just to find an apartment to live in.  He is adamant on that point.  “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Diamond,” Steen said in a video news interview. So they will not leave Diamond behind.

Diamond’s situation is ironic.  Here is a verified hero who loves her family and literally saved their lives.  But because she was born a pit bull, society discriminates against her without even giving her a chance.

Diamond is a super-friendly 14-month-old gal who rarely barks and loves to interact with both humans and other animals.  She will have permanent scarring from her injuries.

Fear of pit bulls is based in ignorance.  Just like humans, canines deserve to be judged as individuals based on their behavior and character – not how they look.

How You Can Help

If anyone knows of animal-friendly rentals available in the Hayward, California area, why not suggest the Steens as potential tenants? Mr. Steen said he would be happy to receive any referrals for pit bull-friendly housing.  He prefers to be reached on his phone 510-688-3707 but can also be reached at his email address darryl_steen@yahoo.com.

How about it, Care2 members – does anyone know of some pit bull-friendly rentals in Hayward, California?

Related Stories

Pit Bulls Have Better Temperament than Average Dog

Fixing the Pit Bull Problem by Embracing the Breed

Paralyzed Pit Bull Mix Inspires Others

Note: This photo of a Pit bull is NOT Diamond, Flickr: melgupta


Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

I am glad to see this thread has been updated, but I am sad to see that the family still is unable to locate affordable housing that will accept their dog. The ignorance demonstrated by so many members of the public regarding Pit Bull and Pit Bull-type breeds becomes more-and-more of a problem as time goes on. The truly sad part of the whole Pit Bull enigma is the fact that legislators who support Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) have been supported by the voters by being voted into office instead of the public investigating the politicians stance on Breed Discrimination before letting them take office. BSL and discrimination by the private sector regarding "Pit Bull-types and other so-called-dangerous types" MUST STOP.

Melinda S.
Melinda S.5 years ago

Message was truncated. Rats. Here is the link to the pitbull quiz.


Melinda S.
Melinda S.5 years ago

Please remember to punish the deed, not the breed.

There is a LOT of misinformation fired by witch hunts and the uninformed. There is currently no accurate way to identify the number of dogs of a particular breed, and consequently no measure to determine which breeds are more likely to bite or kill. None.

As to the data saying that pit bulls are the most dangerous breed - it is nothing more than insurance folks trying to cover their asses and not pay any more money than they need to. That is their business. They base their studies on faulty data. There is no definitive way to calculate a bite rate for a breed or to compare rates between breeds. First, the breed of the biting dog may not be accurately recorded, and mixed-breed dogs are commonly described as if they were purebreds. Second, the actual number of bites that occur in a community is not known, especially if they did not result in serious injury. Third, the number of dogs of a particular breed or combination of breeds in a community is not known, because it is rare for all dogs in a community to be licensed, and existing licensing data is then incomplete.

I challenge you all to take this quiz and pick the pit bull immediately out of this group of dogs. Now imagine a dog has bitten you and you are traumatized. If you cannot pick it out of THIS group in a controlled environment - imagine how badly you would do when shocked and in pain. Go ahead. Now get back to me with you rhetoric and theory on ho

Melinda S.
Melinda S.5 years ago

There is more than one hero in this family!! Mr. Steen, I applaud you and your dedication to your family members. You, sir, are the hero!! I wish you the best of luck, you deserve it!!

tereza rizos
Terry Rizos5 years ago

Hi again,

I just sent an email to Mr stean, hoping he will get to read his emails soon! If anyone gets anymore info wouls you kindly share.

Thank you
Tereza Rizos

tereza rizos
Terry Rizos5 years ago


Is it possible for you to call
Mr. Steen he would be happy to receive any referrals for pit bull-friendly housing. He prefers to be reached on his phone 510-688-3707 3707 but can also be reached at his email address darryl_steen@yahoo.com.I will send him a message as well and see if i get any news i will let you all know,THANK YOU so much for the quick response and the support for this family.
Tereza Rizos

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/hero-dog-now-homeless.html#ixzz1WrltgC1s

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

Hayward is a couple hours away- those people could live in my apartments if they wanted to move to a different town, there are lots of pitbulls here. Pitbulls and chihuahuas

Martha A.
Martha A.5 years ago

Ok, I just got off the phone with Darryl. Ha has been able to find places that will take diamond because she is now a service dog. The problem now is that hes has not been released medically and even though, he has a job, there is not enough money for the place. Credit is not the problem. Is the first and last plus deposit that they can't afford. Can we set up a donation found to help this family out?

Kimberly C.
Kimberly Carey5 years ago

There is a Pit Bull advocacy group called badrap.com. They seem awesome. Maybe they could help.

Pitties sure do have a UN-deserved bad wrap and it disgusts me that no one gives the shitty humans who created the rap and/or abused the dogs in the first place are accountable.

I already have 2 dogs or I would take her. I hope the family out of sheer gratitude does NOT abandon her.

tereza rizos
Terry Rizos5 years ago

hi can ayone give an update on the dog and the family?