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How a Local Animal Rescue Group is Helping Springfield Adopt Out Pit Bulls

Kathryn Eutsler/KSMU
"They’re actually just huge babies. Love to be held and cuddled. I can turn any of these dogs over on their backs and rub their belly and pick them up." Anna Yendes with Eldon, one of the nine pit bulls available for adoption from C.A.R.E.";

For the next sixth months, pit bulls can be rescued from the Springfield Animal Shelter. KSMU's Kathryn Eutsler tells us more.

“Eldon, come here! Come here! Look at that run. So wobbly. I don’t know why.”

Eldon, a three-year-old brown and white pit bull, has not been at Castaway Animal Rescue Effort center for long. But he’s fitting in pretty well at the facility, located in Ozark.

“The clinic staff and I were talking-we’ve never liked a group of dogs that came in so much. Every single one is great.”

That’s Anna Yendes, a spokesperson for C.A.R.E. The sauntering dog, Eldon, is one of the nine pit bulls that were rescued from the Springfield Animal Shelter last week, thanks to a new resolution approved by the Springfield City Council.

Previously, Springfield’s pit bull Ordinance mandated that if a pit bull was taken to the Springfield Animal Shelter, only the dog’s owner could rescue it. If the owner did not retrieve the dog within seven days, the pit bull would be euthanized.

“We’ve been requesting to rescue these dogs for years, ever since that legislation was put into place,” says Yendes.

Now, Yendes’ request has been granted. At least for the next sixth months.

Until October, the C.A.R.E center in Ozark can take pit bulls out of the Springfield Animal Shelter and adopt them out.

“This sixth month trial period is really about proving that these dogs can be successfully placed into homes, that they are not dangerous or unadoptable or any of that.”

Yendes explains that there are many limitations on the resolution. First, before a dog can be rescued, it must undergo a series of evaluations and tests.

“When the pit bulls come into animal control, and we just really rescued our first group last week, they will be temperament tested by animal control staff and then also by us, and we will determine if they are people friendly, non-food aggressive, and good with other animals.”

Kathryn Wall, the city of Springfield’s public information administrator, says these tests are essential in making sure the pit bulls are adoptable.

“That’s why this ordinance came into play in the first place, was again, trying to protect the public from dog bites,” Wall explains.

Another limitation on the resolution involves insurance. Adoption agencies that rescue the pit bull must have a $1 million liability insurance policy. Currently, C.A.R.E is the only rescue group in the area with such a policy.

Yendes says C.A.R.E makes an effort to find the pit bulls forever homes.

“We’re going to make sure that these guys are going into stable, good homes. Many of the people we’ve had interested have had Pit Bulls before in the past, and they love the breed, understand the breed, and want to give them a great home.”

Wall says the city appreciates and values C.A.R.E’s selective adoption process. She adds that previous incidents involving this breed of dog were influenced by how the dog was raised.

“There were a lot of really high profile incidents where children were getting hurt, specifically by pit bulls that unfortunately did not have responsible owners,” says Wall.

Additionally, people who live in the city limits of Springfield cannot adopt a pit bull from C.A.R.E. Yendes says the agency wants to ensure that none of the Pit Bulls end up back in the Springfield Animal Control and are euthanized.

Currently, all nine pit bulls are still at C.A.R.E, but five people have put in applications to adopt dogs like Eldon.

“I’m just so glad that they were not just euthanized, you know? That they got a second chance. Because Eldon is going to make someone a great dog. And he deserves that chance,” says Yendes.

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