Photos Provided Christina Cruikshank’s pit bull Lettie. (Photo Provided)
NEWTON — With an all-volunteer force, the “Bottom Of The Pit Rescue” has dedicated itself to helping a dog breed that suffers from a bad reputation, the founder said.
Christina Cruikshank, of Roane County, said she began the rescue to help place pit bulls that have been surrendered and also to repeal laws and ordinances that ban the breed or restrict it in some West Virginia cities.
She said those cities are Barboursville, Bluefield, Ceredo, Dunbar, Fayetteville, Huntington, Montgomery and Wheeling. Some cities restrict pit bulls while others place an outright ban and some classify them as dangerous. The laws also cover wolf hybrids and other dogs labeled as vicious or dangerous.
Cruikshank said she and her family lived in Hurricane until the city passed an ordinance to restrict the dogs.
“I use mine as a comfort dog,” she said. “Their new rules put a lot of restrictions on them when they went outside; we decided to go live on property my husband bought in Roane County.”
Cruikshank said the affection and happiness pit bulls show should not be mistaken as having aggressive tendencies. She said she has four with her and her family and five are out with foster families.
Bottom of the Pit is a word play on “pit-bottom.” In coal mining, the entrance to a mine and the underground roads in the immediate vicinity, whether at the bottom of the pit or at any point in it beneath the surface at which the cages are loaded, are the pit-bottom.
Many time, Cruikshank said, the problem lies in how the dog was treated by a prior owner.
“They are misunderstood, they are amazing dogs, but you got to work with them. They are wanted for dog fighting because they have the hardest bite pressure,” she said. “Punish the former owners instead of the dogs; I trust some dogs more than some humans.”
Cruikshank said at this time most of the dogs they have taken in are with foster families and they are working on a facility that will be more like houses for dogs rather than a kennel.
“My husband says I’m crazy but I see each dog having its own doggy couch in a place that is heated and cooled, maybe like in tiny houses,” she said.
Cruikshank said they have 15 acres of property in Roane County where they plan to have their rescue sanctuary.
“All of our property was flooded two years ago,” she said. “We have our home there and we have built it up where the house is and where the sanctuary will be located.”
Cruikshank said she hopes the nonprofit sanctuary can be a place where high school students can earn some of their community service hours by helping to walk the dogs on the property and help out in other ways.
“Roane County is a small county and there are not a lot of places for them to get hours,” she said. “We’re going to have walking trails and they get their hours by helping us walk the dogs and other things here.”
“We’re going to do a meet and greet from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 6 at the Tractor Supply Co. in Spencer,” she said. “We want to get more foster families for our dogs.”
Foster families are needed for the pit bulls. There are rules and requirements for being a foster family for a pit bull, she said.
- Applicants must have homeowners insurance if owning.
- Applicants must have approval from landlord if renting.
- The group cannot adopt out in areas with breed discriminatory laws.
- Once an application is approved, the person can get a call at anytime. Keep your telephone valid and up to date.
- Fee: $125 for adoption and $100 refundable fee for a spay / neuter agreement. Must be spayed and/or neutered within 30 days of adoption. The group will refund the $100 fee once verification is sent to them. Every dog will be up to date on vaccinations prior to adoption. The adoption fees go toward the medical care of the dogs.
- The application pre-screening is available on the website https://bottomofthepit.weebly.com
If a person or family wants to adopt a pit bull, the organization will wave the adoption fee for those who foster for a period of time.
- Foster application prescreening is available on the website https://bottomofthepit.weebly.com