A suburban Chicago shelter is getting creative and having some fun as it works to find homes for the many pit bulls and pittie mixes in their care. The South Suburban Humane Society has put a twist on the Jay Z song 99 Problems to launch their new campaign called 99 Problems But a Pit Ain’t One of Them. They hope their campaign builds awareness and helps them adopt out more of the pit bulls in their care.
From now until September 30, the South Suburban Humane Society hopes to place 99 pit bulls or pittie mixes with adoption fees of $99. They are also reaching out to those that already have pit bulls by offering a $99 spay/neuter package that includes surgery, vaccines, deworming and a microchip. If you can’t adopt, a $99 donation will help care for the many pit bull terriers that come into the shelter.
“The number one surrendered breed to SSHS is pit bull and pit bull mixes,” according to Emily Klehm, CEO of the shelter. “Across the country, pit bulls are the number one bred dog and they are also the number one euthanized dog in shelters. SSHS is battling stereotypes every single day that families have against adopted pit bulls. We are hoping to bust some of those myths and to demonstrate the adoptability of pit bulls.”
South Suburban Humane Society has been developing 99 Problems But a Pit Ain’t One of Them for a few months and the launch hits at a great time. Recently, Time magazine published a negative article about pit bulls that contained a lot of inaccuracies and failed to quote a single advocate for the breed. It’s spurred anger and debate in the rescue community.
“With the article, there is even more impetus to take a stand for pit bulls,” add Klehm. “Summertime is when we see the highest number of owner-surrendered pets and so placing more dogs in loving homes is critical to us during this time. It’s going to be one successful dog placement at a time. When folks visit the shelter and SEE pit bulls interacting with their family, we start to bust the stereotypes.”
The Time article won’t be the first or last negative news story on the breed. When negative news coverage hits, that puts more pressure on shelters and rescues to advocate for the breed and tell the real story behind the story.
The campaign – 99 Problems But a Pit Ain’t One of Them – will do a lot to put the breed in a positive light and sway more support in the breed’s favor.
“The general public’s perception is changing slowly,” says Klehm. “There are many families of all income levels, races, and geographic areas who choose to adopt pits. We want the positive imaging and stories of these folks to be the headlines.”
Creative programs like 99 Problems But a Pit Ain’t One of Them have helped the open access shelters make great strides in finding more pets homes. The organization has sponsored Empty the Shelter Weekends where they waive adoption fees for qualified adopters, helping over 70 pets find homes some weekends. During Adopt-A-Cat-Month (June), they've run a successful 9 Lives for $9 campaign. SSHS has been adopting out cats six months and older for $9 and one kitten is adopted at the regular price with the second just $9.
Each campaign opens the door for more pets to settle in with a forever family and saves the life of one more pet. From now until September 30, I hope that means plenty of pit bulls and pit bull mixes. After all, SSHS has 99 Problems and Pits Ain’t One of Them.
The South Suburban Humane Society is located at 1103 West End in Chicago Heights. They are also out in the community at adoption events at PetSmart, Walgreens, Alsip Nursery and elsewhere. Follow their campaign on Facebook.
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