Dino’s House is a private animal rescue shelter in Israel that takes in dogs considered to be of dangerous breeds who have been victim to abuse or dog fights. This weekend, a group of Israeli models is launching a creative fundraiser to draw attention to the project, publishing a calendar featuring the pinup models and the dogs.
Adi Tzioni, who first had the idea for the calendar, says, “Pit bulls really love people. They are wonderful family dogs. It all depends on how they are raised.”
Each month features a model dressed provocatively, in 1950s style, along with a different dog from Dino’s House.
Tzioni tells Ynet that everyone involved in the "Chicks for Pits" project – from the models to photographers to the stylists - volunteered their time, and that she hopes the photos will introduce a new image for the intimidating breeds.
“When they see me on the street with my dogs, Amstaffs and a Doberman, people get scared and move to the other side,” Tzioni tells Haaretz.
“Everything depends on how they are raised, because even a poodle or a pinscher can be be aggressive if educated to be. It all depends on what kind of people they land with,” Tzioni tells Ynet.
“They return love,” she adds.
Israel’s Agriculture Ministry has defined a list of dangerous breeds, including the Rottweiler, Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire terrier (Amstaff) and others, according to Haaretz.
Dudu Martziano founded Dino’s House last year and welcomes the fundraising effort to help him care for the 25 dogs the shelter presently houses.
Martziano’s group rescues the dogs from abusive conditions, dog fighting and abandonment. The goal is to find adoptive families after rehabilitating the dogs, a complicated challenge.
“Rehabilitation has many layers. A dog can arrive that is frightened and aggressive primarily toward animals and in seldom cases toward humans. If we place him as he is into a home, he could simply rip it apart due to his great frustration and fear, so we need to expose him from anew in a positive way to the environment,” Martziano says.
“That means we need to introduce him to a place where he will feel secure, where he has a normal routine including walking, food, and contact with people and animals,” he says, adding the process can take as long as four months.
He recounts one particularly challenging case that took even longer. “Scar” was a pit bull rescued from the Bedouin town Rahat in the Negev Desert. According to Martziano, he had sustained injuries throughout his body. His previous owners had sawed down his teeth and subjected him to dog fights.
“Only after a half-year rehabilitation, he learned how to play with cats and to reveal his soft side…If he sees a street cat, it will be he who runs away,” Martziano tells Ynet, adding that he renamed the dog from “Scar” to “Star.”
Martziano says he works in “two-and-a-half” jobs in order to fund the project, working from about 6am to 3am both at his jobs and the shelter.
He says he chose to come to the aid of pit bulls and Amstaffs, because “nobody else wanted to do it.” He also believes that the dogs attack due to being adopted by families who have no idea how to raise the unique breeds.
“Pit bulls are loyal, genial animals who love people, especially children, but their trigger is developed more toward other animals and it’s all a matter of exposure. If a puppy is trained from a young age to grow up in an environment with animals positively, as an adult the dog will become aware of its power and will be able to live with other animals without a problem. It all depends on the environment in which he grew up,” Martziano says
Some of dogs live in his home, others at a kibbutz, he tells Ynet. “They all get the best conditions there could be [including] training, rehab,” he says.
More photos from the calendar can be found on the group’s Facebook page. All proceeds from the sale will go to Dino’s House.