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Old 02-06-2012, 06:01 PM
Shauna Smith's Avatar
Shauna Smith Shauna Smith is offline
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Default Florida Ronald McDonald House guilty of pit bull discrimination?

http://www.examiner.com/pit-bull-in-...discrimination

Since the release of a thoughtless and insensitive McDonald's radio ad claiming their Chicken McBites are safer then petting a stray pit bull aired on February 3rd 2012 many people have come forward with stories of direct pit bull discrimination by the McDonald's Corporation on a localized and national level. The following story is just one of many tales to be unearthed since McDonald's recent anti-pitbull faux pas.

On November 20, 2011, a certified canine good citizen and certified therapy dog through "Therapy Dogs International" named Buster Blue and his owner and handler Angel Sabatino Costanzo were denied an interview with the Ronald McDonald house in St. Petersburg, Florida simply based upon the fact that Buster Blue is a pit bull.

Angel had spent two weeks anxiously making the arrangements with two different people to start visiting the house with Buster. They finally had an interview scheduled but three hours before their appointment the therapy dog coordinator called to tell Angel that, while she doesnít agree with the policy, the house director said that they did not allow therapy dog visits from pit bulls. Angel and Buster were devastated. Angel recalls feeling felt like her child had just been discriminated against. She was in her car when the call came in and cried the whole way home while Buster sat in the seat next to her trying to kiss away her tears.

Distraught, Angel shared her story with fellow animal lover Lisa Brockew who took it upon herself to research the temperament of the St. Petersburg Houseís mascot therapy dog, and it's breed tested poorly in comparison to pit bulls according to the American Temperament Testing Society. Yet despite this information and the fact that Buster had to go through extensive temperament testing to receive both of his certifications he was still deemed not good enough for the St. Petersburg Ronald McDonald House. Which is unfortunate for everyone involved but especially for the children.

According to Angel, Buster adores children, his best friend is a cat, and he has been around goats and other farm animals without an ounce of aggression toward any of them. Buster was Angel's very first foster dog when she started doing pit bull rescue and even though Angel and her family didnít initially plan to keep Buster forever they soon found that they couldn't bare the thought of giving him up. Since Buster's "failed foster" and later successful adoption, he has proven himself to be an incredibly reliable breed ambassador and a great mentor to the twenty two other rescue pit bulls the family has fostered. Buster seems to go out of his way to comfort and welcome his foster siblings as if he always remembers where he once came from.

Buster has also won several "Best Rescue Awards" as well as being the dog at the end of the leash of an eight year old girl who has taken both first and second place at Junior Handler competitions. All around Buster Blue is a dog any pet parent would be proud of and would have been a valuable asset to The Ronald McDonald House therapy dog program.

Angel has asked that anyone who decides to contact the Ronald McDonald House Organization concerning this story to please convey your thoughts and opinions in a polite educational manner. She also wishes it to be clear that she believes this decision was made by one uneducated person and that the Ronald McDonald House is still a wonderful organization that helps millions of sick children and their families each and every year. Angel is hopeful that telling her story will help overturn discriminative policies but does not wish to see the reputation of pit bulls or the Ronald McDonald House Organization tarnished by negative public reactions.

Special Credit: The bulk of this story was written by Angel Sabatino Costanzo herself and was edited and released with her permission. Therefore it is Angel's dedication and bravery that made this story possible and she deserves full credit.
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