Pit bull owners who want a chance to mix and mingle with other dog lovers while receiving services for their pets and advice on how to handle this often misunderstood breed will get their chance this Saturday, Feb. 23.
Hillsborough County Animal Services is throwing a party for pits and their owners. Dubbed Neighborhood Pit Bull Day, the event is meant to help pit bull owners with costly services while giving them a chance to learn more about the breed and how to overcome the challenges of ownership, explained Marti Ryan, spokeswoman for animal services.
Pit bull terriers are near and dear to the hearts of employees at Animal Services, who have been working to raise awareness about the breed for years, Ryan said.
“We have an extremely active advocacy program that’s been growing since 2007,” Ryan said. “We started with one or two pit bull ambassadors (and it’s grown from there).”
Neighborhood Pit Bull Day festivities take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 23 on the grounds of the Town ‘N Country Recreation Center, 6039 Hanley Road in Tampa. Lutz residents with pit bull terriers are invited to attend and anyone in the county with a pit or pit-mix can come out.
The first 500 or so dogs to come out will also receive free rabies shots, microchips, new collars, county tags and more, Ryan said. Everything’s on a first-come, first-served basis though, so she suggests people come out early. Breed educators will also be on site to answer questions pit owners have about their dogs.
“The aim is to help keep the most at-risk dogs in loving homes through education and responsible ownership,” a county media release on the event said.
In addition to free items for the dogs that attend, the event also features food vendors, dog contests, a children’s area and a DJ. The county asks that all dogs be on leashes and that residents leave their cats at home. Dogs should be muzzled, if necessary.
Funding for Saturday’s event is being provided by a grant from the Best Friends Animal Society of Utah. The county has also worked closely with the Bad Rap organization to create its pro-pit bull programs.
For more information, visit Animal Services online.
If You Go
What: Neighborhood Pit Bull Day
Where: Town ‘N Country Recreation Center, 6039 Hanley Road
When: Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Who: Any Hillsborough County pit bull or pit bull mix owner
Cost: Free, but concessions will cost money and benefit Webb Junior High School