All the barking about dangerous pit bulls got Kassie Brown hot under the collar.
So she figured out a way to make some cash for the bullies’ biggest advocates in Albuquerque.
Brown and fellow pit bull enthusiast Rachel Starr created the Burque Babes and Bullies Calendar. Twelve models and their 15 pet pit bulls take turns posing each month. Every cent of the $15 price goes to Responsibly Adopting Albuquerque’s Pit Bulls (RAAP).
Brown and Starr made sure all the pinup models brought their own pit bulls to their shoot. “If you bring in some random dog and the girl, you’re not going to get that love,” Brown says. “The girls have that real connection with their dog.”
Starr says keeping the bullies engaged while the cameras flashed proved onerous. “The dogs are either overly excitable or they’re tired and uninterested,” Starr says.
The tougher task for Brown and Starr is changing people’s perceptions of a breed some fear and despise. Starr says perceptions of dog breeds change with the wind. “In the 1930s through the ’50s, the majority of household pets were Yankee terriers, which was the pit bull breed,” Starr says. “It’s so strange to see, after all the stereotyping, how quickly a breed can be shunned by the American public.”
Starr contends breeders removed pit bulls’ aggressive tendency toward humans. The dogs were bred to fight other canines, but they had to be handled by people. So it wasn’t beneficial for bullies to attack humans.
With proper socialization, Starr says pit bulls will get along fine with most dogs. “My dog has a certain amount of aggression toward some animals, but it gets along with others just fine,” Starr says. “You don’t expect a human to like all people, so why do you expect a dog to like all dogs?”
Pit bulls appear to be one of the most common breeds in Albuquerque animal shelters. The number can be misleading, Brown says, because almost any dog that looks somewhat like a pit bull gets labeled as such. That means many dogs that aren’t really pit bulls get lumped in with purebred bullies. The over-classification drives up the number of so-called pit bulls responsible for attacks on humans and other animals, Brown adds.
Brown says money from calendar sales should help some pit bulls find homes, since that’s part of RAAP’s mission. In the meantime, Brown and Starr say they’ll keep dispelling myths. “People are always like, They’re gonna eat my children,” Brown says. "The truth is they love children. Bullies just want to kiss their faces.”