Success! Diggy The Adorable Dog Gets To Stay With His Family
Diggy, an adorable American bulldog, had spent nearly 100 days at the Detroit Dog Rescue before he found a home.
When Diggy was adopted by musician Dan Tillery, the two captured their happiness with a selfie and posted it to Facebook. The photo, showing matching joyous grins, immediately went viral, and was shared and liked by thousands on the internet. Diggy’s story even made its way to Good Morning America and People magazine.
But not everyone was thrilled about the photo.
When the police in Tillery’s township saw the selfie, they mistakenly assumed the dog was a pit bull and informed Dan that he had violated the local ban on pit bulls. Diggy would have to go back to the Detroit Dog Rescue, they were told.
Rescue groups provided paperwork proving that Diggy was in fact an American bulldog, not a pit bull. But the Waterford Township police insisted that Diggy looked like a pit bull.
They gave Tillery three days to remove his new best friend from his home.
When Care2 member Tara Vitale saw the Facebook photo and heard about Diggy’s situation, she was furious and decided to create a petition demanding that Diggy be allowed to stay in his new home.
110,000 Care2 Activists Sign Up To Support Diggy
Vitale argued that pit bull bans do not actually keep communities safer, but instead discriminate against dogs who are friendly. Here’s what she wrote:
“Please make our community safer by creating a dog ordinance that does not single out specific breeds. We can make the community safer through dog ordinances that all dog owners have to follow, no matter what their dog looks like.”
Many people in the Care2 community agreed, and Vitale’s petition garnered more than 110,000 signatures.
Diggy’s story and the petition caught the attention of the New York Times. The article quotes Kristina Rinaldi, the director of Detroit Dog Rescue, who shares her experience meeting Diggy:
“Ms. Rinaldi said spending time with Diggy made clear he was no threat. She described him as ‘the biggest goofball’ who ‘loves everybody’ and has ‘big slappy cheeks.’
‘Because Diggy has a blocky head and a big smile, he was automatically judged like he was dangerous,’ she said, ‘and this is probably the sweetest dog you’ll ever know.’”
Success for Diggy!
After three long months and several meetings, the Waterford Board of Trustees voted on September 12 to change its pit bull ban and allow a veterinarian to determine a dog’s breed. Two veterinarians declared that Diggy was an American bulldog, not a pit bull, which meant he would get to stay in his new, loving home.
Dan Tillery is delighted to have Diggy back home again. “We get to keep our boy,” Tillery wrote in a happy Facebook post. “He’s a good boy.”
But as Vitale states in her petition, the fight against Breed Specific Legislation is far from over:
“It is important for all of us to come together and be a voice for not only Diggy the American Bulldog, but all of the pets and people that have suffered heartache in the past years. We must remember, it is not the animal that is the beast, it is man that creates the beast. Aggressive dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and BREEDS. This should be handled on a case-by-case basis.”
What Is Breed-Specific Legislation?
Breed-specific legislation, or BSL, refers to laws or bans that pertain to only certain breeds. BSL, which exists in over 700 U.S. cities, always targets pit bulls and affects other breeds that look similar.
It has also proven to be both ineffective and unfair, and is opposed by every major animal welfare organization in the U.S.
The U.K. has a similar ordinance called the Dangerous Dogs Act. Under this act, Marley the pit bull was taken away from her home in Derby, England, just one week before Christmas last year, even though she was a loving dog who showed no signs of aggression.
Just as Vitale spoke up for Diggy, Diane Coles created a Care2 petition to help Marley. Coles urged DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Derby law court to release Marley. Her petition gathered 130,000 signatures and it was also successful.
Marley was returned to her loving family seven months after she had been seized by the police.
Diggy, Marley and their families are all lucky. But other dogs are needlessly affected by breed discrimination laws.
If you live in a city with an ordinance that bans certain breeds, urge your local officials to remove them with a Care2 petition.
Photo Credit: Facebook