Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin is more than a hero: she’s an educator, an advocate, and a voice for dogs everywhere. As the founder and CEO of Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc., Little Darling works tirelessly to end discrimination, abuse, and the unecessary killing of pit bull-type dogs nationally, while educating people world-wide about the ineffectiveness of Breed Specific Legislation. PBP had the pleasure of interviewing Little Darling for our Anti-BSL issue.
PBP: You have been an advocate for pit bull-type dogs and an opponent of Breed Specific Legislation for many years. What led you to the field of animal welfare and advocacy?
LD: I have been an animal lover since as early as I can remember. Even as a little kid, I wanted to know why certain animals were favored and others were considered less valuable or meaningful to people. I wanted to befriend every creature that had fur. At the age of 12, I became a vegetarian and studied animal rights pamphlets to understand their argument and to see if they had a sensible argument against things like animal testing for makeup, vivisection and other atrocities. It was a natural occurrence that I became an animal advocate, and I really haven’t been swayed in any other direction since those days. It only amplified as I grew up and began to have the courage to use my voice to fight things that I did not believe were fair. After I adopted Carla Lou around the age of 19, I began to see a whole new side of animal advocacy that I had never heard of before, that of banning certain dog breeds. I wanted to understand it more so that I could be a voice against it, if the argument made sense to me. I quickly learned that these laws were unfounded and lacked any level of scientific basis. Carla Lou inspired me to educate myself with facts so that I could speak on her behalf and for others like her. I’ve always identified with the term “voice for the voiceless.”
PBP: You recently graduated from Drexel University with a Master of Science in Public Policy. Your thesis, which you successfully defended, is titled “Public Policy: Community Safety through Breed Bans?” What does the research that you’ve done suggest regarding the effectiveness of breed bans?
LD: The research that I conducted ended in the outcome that I had hoped to arrive at. I took every avenue that I could to find something that could prove that dog bans can work. In my heart I knew they could not and logic also told me that dog bans could not work, but I had to prove that dog bans could not work with rational, science-based facts. What I discovered was that there is not a single peer reviewed study that proves that dog bans work. There is not a single medical journal, veterinary journal or law journal that could prove that one dog breed is any more dangerous than another. In fact, even if they tried to prove it, their theories were debunked in their research. All dogs are individuals and context is everything in the dog world. I was so excited to not only prove that breed bans cannot work but to discover that it’s impossible for them to work since all dogs have teeth, therefore, all dogs have the propensity to bite. Furthermore, in my research, I delved deep into the pro-pit bull ban proponents. I discovered that the loudest voices and strongest dog ban advocates were not experts in any field that would give them credibility, but rather, they had strong ties to media outlets and rallied with their opinions and feelings rather than any sound scientific argument. I also spent a lot of time in my research looking into studies about fear and the effects that fear can have on people. Fear has long lasting effects on our minds. We can spend a lot of energy obsessing over something that seems prevalent (i.e. reading about a dog bite in the news). This kind of obsessing leads us to have irrational fears based on something that seems to be recurring in multiple news outlets. What people do not understand about dog bite stories is that they are often reported quickly and rarely discuss the context of the bite. The dogs you read about in the news are dogs that are statistically always a selection of the following situations:-unneutered/unaltered-chained dogs (dogs that live outside and are not socialized)-at-large dogs-dogs that are abused/neglected (either physically starved or injured)-dogs that have a physical ailment i.e. neurological problems-fearful dogs (often as a result of shock, choke, and dominance training)
I also wondered how such news reports were quick to blame a dog in a situation rather than their caretaker. For instance, when an infant is
“randomly” attacked by a dog; it’s usually a story such as “a 2 year old walked into the neighbor’s yard.” My first question is, “what is a 2 year old doing walking around without an adult?” News reporters are often so busy worrying about getting the story out first that they are carelessly causing hysteria amongst the ignorant masses. I long for the days of journalism and quality detective work.
Lastly, in my research, there was the instance where certain cities enacted a “pit bull” ban for example that bragged that after they removed “pit bulls” from their community that they successfully eliminated pit bull bites. What they didn’t talk about was that other dog breeds became the main biting dog in their community. I also found that a dog breed that is a majority in region, like a Husky in Canada, for instance, was often the dog with the most recorded bites. This seems logical since if there are more of one type of dog in a community that the likelihood of that type of dog having more bites. What I argued for instead of breed bans since they clearly did not work in a single case was for cities to enforce leash laws, tethering laws, and for education for people with dogs and even people who did not have dogs. Education is the only answer to reduce dog bites. Education costs a lot less and can save a lot more lives, both canine and human.
Deirdre Franklin, who founded Pinups for Pitbulls, discusses how she connected Pitbull advocacy with her Pinup work. She is graduating shortly from Drexel University with a Master of Science Degree in Public Policy. Her master’s thesis, which she recently successfully defended, is entitled Public Policy: Community Safety Through Breed Bans?. It is a sixty three page paper, and she discusses the major points of it during the interview. The science that supports breed neutral laws is explored, as well as the overwhelming consensus against breed bans from professional and animal welfare groups. The lack of objective data and any relevant credentialling of Colleen Lynn of dogsbite.org is covered, along with the culture of incivility promoted by “Maul Talk” a sister site of DBO. A thoroughly enjoyable discussion with someone who is obviously highly educated on the topic of breed discriminatory legislation.
May 28, 2013
The organization Pinups for Pitbulls is shooting their 2014 calendar in a photography studio in Overbrook.
Deirdre Franklin started the group in 2005 to promote a better image for pit bulls.
Pinups for Pitbulls helps rescue organizations and brings awareness to issues like Breed Specific Legislation, which targets pit bull-type dogs and restricts — or even bans — people from owning that breed.
The group believes pit bulls aren’t the problem – irresponsible people are.
“We try to get that education out there and help people understand that there is a much broader issue going on,” Franklin says. “People need to spay and neuter their pets and use positive training instead of using choke, or force or shock, which a lot of people do which creates fearful dogs.”
The calendar is their biggest fundraising tool, and this year’s theme is “adventure.”
An estimated 2,800 pit bull-type dogs are euthanized (read: killed) each day in the United States alone, adding up to approximately 1 million lost lives annually. Sadly, simply being born a pit bull-type is practically a death sentence for dogs awaiting their forever homes in shelters, largely due to misconceptions about their “breed”. And that’s where Pinups for Pitbulls (PFPB), Inc.comes in. Founded by pinup model Deirdre Franklin in 2005, the nonprofit is a tireless advocate for pit bull-type dogs and dispeller of negative perceptions about these innocent animals. In honor of National Pet Month, we chatted with Franklin about her work, next year’s fundraising pinup calendar (which PFPB has become known for), and how we can combat negative attitudes toward pit bull-breed dogs.
The full Russian article can be viewed here: The Dog Island Magazine.
Special thanks to Anya Gladun for translating the article from Russian to English. Read the translated article here.
Enjoy this positive Pit bull press featuring an interview with our founder, Deirdre ‘Little Darling’ Franklin. She discusses the media hype, science and facts, and how to move forward. Download your free copy at the link below.
Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Dors, Rita Hayworth… once posted in the lockers of G.I.s during World War II, today Pin Up Girls are taking new directions and themes. One of these exciting new directions comes from an organization I discovered a while ago. It’s Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin’s organization, Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc., founded in 2005. I stumbled upon ‘Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls’ 2013 calendar cover picture on Facebook and I loved the art work, and of course, the dogs. After browsing through the pictures and reading the mission and vision of this organization I wanted to learn more about it and contacted this terrific, creative non-profit group. They got right back to me and were pleased to participate in our ongoing series of interviews…
With a selfless motto that everyone deserves to have a wonderful quality of life, Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin employs love, companionship, integrity and loyalty into her self-started organization Pinups for Pitbulls. Helping dogs nationwide, Franklin’s charitable work has been recognized by media outlets including American Dog Magazine, Animal Planet and other high profile publications. Speaking to Helping Paws NJ, Franklin shares all on her very own little darlings as well as her other successful volunteer efforts.
First appearance on Pit Boss: Watch Episode >>
(their very first episode ever)
Deirdre ‘Little Darling’ Franklin and Ronald with Geisha
Photographer: Shannon Brooke
Make up & Hair: Jennifer Corona
Most recent appearance on Pit Boss (March 2011) Watch Episode >>
Deirdre ‘Little Darling’ Franklin with Ashley and Shorty Rossi the Pit Boss
Photographer: Riley Kern
Make up & Hair: Jennifer Corona
“Misconceptions about deviant behavior aside, it’s what’s underneath the buttoned-up exterior that fuels America’s long-running fascination with being inked. The unconventional glamour and the desire to mark our pasts in a secret place fuels our curiosity. There is perhaps no better example of this than the pinup, the woman who saw soldiers through World War II, first on posters and then on their biceps. At the Marriott, women dressed as pinups sold buttons and mango salsa in the name of animal advocacy: They call themselves Pinups for Pitbulls.”
Since the dawn of advertising, lovely ladies have been used to sell everything from soap to pickup trucks. But the women of Pinups for Pitbulls are more than simply beauties or burlesque queens. Founder Deirdre Franklin, whose stage name is Little Darling, describes a modern burlesque artist as “a strong woman who’s expressing herself in an art form that’s liberating.” Part of a subculture that’s revived a classic American art, they’re also using their talents to save a classic American dog…
We got the opportunity to chat with Little Darling, Founder and President of Pinups for Pitbulls, the non-profit group who is hosting the event. Pinups for Pitbulls’ volunteer staff works year-round to raise funds for pit bull-friendly rescue groups and individual bullies in shelters across the country. The group’s annual calendar featuring a pit bull-loving pinup for each month is their biggest seller and aims at educating the public on Breed Specific Legislation and other issues…
PFPB was awarded FIRST PLACE for “Voice to Stop Illegal Dog Fighting” in The American Dog Magazine’s 1st Annual Humanitarian Awards. There were 25 different categories, 253 nominees, and a grand total of 258,841 individual votes!
For the full list of winners visit: The American Dog Magazine >>
Deirdre Franklin’s love for Pit Bulls began while volunteering at a shelter. She attempted to adopt a Pit Bull-type dog, but was declined because of the dog’s appearance. That shelter, like many others, had a kill-Pit-Bull policy, regardless of the dog’s demeanor, history, or temperament…
Pinups for Pitbulls and their celebrated pin-up calendar feature beautiful and elegantly strong pinup models with their beloved Pit Bulls companions. This non-profit group has been helping to reverse the damage the media has caused these bully breeds with sensationalized and down-right false news stories to create a buzz and sell newspapers. We at Blow The Scene were fortunate enough to catch up with Little Darling, founder of Pinups for Pitbulls, just weeks before their highly anticipated 2011 calendar release on Oct. 23, 2010 and the accompanying multi-city event, Pitbull Awareness Day!
Interview with Deirdre ‘Little Darling’ Franklin
Little Darling, Founder of Pinups for Pitbulls is interviewed by Greg Coy on Pit Bulls, Pin ups, and Breed Specific Legislation.
Interview was on Jan 2, 2008
Comcast Network 8 in Philadelphia, PA
Discovery-News.com: In light of the Michael Vick dog fighting indictment, a group of 12 women, including Discovery News’ Kasey-Dee Gardner, are releasing an annual Pinups for Pitbulls calendar to raise awareness and education.