Radio Host, Jody Miller-Young Pet Fashion Blogger/Radio Host interviewed our founder, Deirdre.
From pinup model to model citizen for Pitbulls, Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin, founder of Pinups for Pitbulls, is advocating for and educating about America’s Family Dog in creative, kitschy calendars, books and fun merchandise, showcasing them as the loving, sweet, goofy dogs they are. But, its not all fun at the ranch; Franklin also has a masters in public policy and she’s using it to fight breed specific legislation around the world. Lots of stories that will enlighten and inspire. Deirdre is a one of a kind and my kind of gal.
Deirdre Franklin is the founder, president, and soul behind Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc., an education and advocacy group that helps shelters and animal rescues around the country. She earned her Master’s degree in public policy at Drexel University and wrote her thesis on breed discriminatory laws. She has garnered many accolades for her efforts in dog advocacy, including the Wallace Award, by championing the relationship in the human-canine bond. She lives in Asheville, NC.
This year has produced some wonderful books this year and for the dog lover who enjoys reading, some wonderful choices are available. One of the most recent entries is focuses on one of the most beloved, and far too often misunderstood, breeds and mixes, Pit Bulls. The Pit Bull Life: A Dog Lover’s Companion, is a brilliantly crafted work that tackles a spectrum of issues from addressing why these dogs are often homeless to how to react and respond to media to make sure correct information is disbursed. The authors, Deirdre Franklin and Linda Lombardi, have taken a thoughtful, well documented, approach that discusses how Pit Bulls were once viewed and the perception today.
Special thanks to Arin Greenwood and PupJournal for featuring this piece by Deirdre S. Franklin from ‘The Pit Bull Life’ book.
Outlawing a dog based on how it looks will not keep us safe from a dog bite. What will keep us safe, on the other hand, is introducing breed-neutral laws for all dog owners to comply with.
- Ask lawmakers for breed-neutral dangerous-dog legislation. This allows animal control to enforce true dangerous-dog issues without having to drive around speculating about whether a dog is a pit bull.
- Ask lawmakers to support education efforts to ensure that parents are aware of the whereabouts of their children and the way that children interact with dogs.
- Ban chaining/tethering or at the very least, require dog owners to be present when their dog is tethered.
- Do not allow at-large dogs to roam. Enforce leash laws or enact leash laws if they do not already exist.
- Penalize people that are noncompliant and elevate fines for repeat offenders. Fines can help increase funding for educational materials.
- Encourage breed-neutral spay-and-neuter programs, and when possible, offer those programs at low or no cost to low-income dog owners.
- Encourage the licensing of breeding, though this can be challenging, since backyard breeders are not necessarily going to comply without the risk of fines and enforcement.
- Require licensing and necessary vaccinations, such as rabies shots. This is obvious, but many dog owners are not in compliance with licensing. This might be due to a fear of breed-specific bans, or ignorance.
- Teach dog bite prevention to dog owners and non-dog owners.
- Make whistleblowing options available to people aware of dogfighting activity in their community; for example, a toll-free phone number.
- Note that breed bans are a violation of property rights.
By Levity Tomkinson for BarkPost
Today, someone came into your home to remove your dog. Nothing you said or did allowed you to keep him or her. Depending on where you live, you don’t know the fate of your dog after this removal. You may have been given only a few days to relocate outside of your city or find a new family for your dog. Your dog may be moved outside of the city — again, you have no say. And in the worst case, your dog was killed. Why? Because of what he or she looked like.
Rodney Taylor, Associate Director of Prince George’s Animal Management in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, describes the emotional and physical effects of BSL, which is “a law or ordinance that prohibits or restricts the keeping of dogs of specific breeds.”
The hardest thing we have to do…is go to someone’s house, knock on their door, see their American Pit Bull Terrier lying in the living room watching television with the kids and the family… and tak[e] that dog away. A dog that has done nothing wrong, caused no problems, but just because of his breed he has to be moved.
One of the things not touched on in Mr. Taylor’s quote is the fact that even though BSL is meant to target a specific breed, in actuality, BSL is by far and large based solely on a dog’s appearance. A dog who looks like (but actually isn’t) a Pit Bull is in danger of being subject to BSL.
This is a reckless and inaccurate way to legislate as it has been proven that it can be very difficult to identify a dog’s breed based on looks.
The Beginnings Of BSL
As BSL began taking hold in the United States in the late 1970s and 1980s and the media sensationalized dogfighting and dog attacks, it led to an increase in those who wanted Pit Bull–type dogs for the wrong reasons. Mitzi Bolaños, the Executive Director of StubbyDogand who recently gave a TEDx talk on BSL, stated:
[This] just enticed more criminals to want them — to keep them chained up as yard dogs, with no positive human interaction, for ‘protection,’ for gambling (which meant fighting), and the cycle just continued.
It’s this type of environment that can lead to dog bites — not the breed of dog. Deirdre Franklin, founder of Pinups For Pitbulls, shared with BarkPost how responsible dog ownership can help reduce dog bites and attacks.
“The focus needs to shift to the basic reasons that dog bites exist: tethered/chained dogs, dogs at–large, unattended children, and focus on spaying and neutering. These are easy areas to target. These are not expensive areas to target. We have overcomplicated a very simple issue.”
Animal advocate and author Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin joined Tim in this episode to talk about her book, little darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls. Tim asked about how the book came about and the message it sends regarding pit bulls and those that truly know and love them. Deirdre and Tim discussed raising animal rights issues and laws and how people can get involved and provide their support. The book is chock full of beautiful pictures of pinup girls and beautiful pit bulls, all while sending a wonderful message. You’re sure to enjoy this episode!
The Misunderstood Pit Bull – Ep 13
Oscar-Nominated actress & Founder of the “Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation” Linda Blair, joins Warren to discuss Pit Bulls and how the press gives them a bad reputation. You’ll also hear President & CEO of “Pinups for Pitbulls” Deirdre Franklin, share the true story of these amazing dogs.
A fresh idea can change the world. That is what Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin hopes to do with her organization, Pinups for Pitbulls (PFPB). Chances are you’ve seen one of Franklin’s eye-catching images—they’re hard to miss. Classic pin-up style modeling paired with adorable Pit Bull-type dogs make for images that are as share-worthy as they are attention grabbing. And that’s the point. We talked to Franklin to learn more about the inspiration and mission behind PFPB.
Why do you think Pit Bulls are so misjudged?
When I was working on my master’s thesis on breed specific legislation I had access to peer reviewed journals and nearly every newspaper article out there. Not one study existed proving that breed bans had worked or that Pit Bulls were inherently more dangerous than other dogs. However, in the newspaper section I came across 17,000 articles damning these dogs. There is a deep disconnect between science and logic and what the media prints. We are working triple time to undo these stereotypes and myths.
What needs to change?
It’s time for people to understand that banning a dog because of the way he or she looks is not going to keep you any safer. All dogs have teeth. Instead, focus on the enforcement of leash laws, breed-neutral spay and neuter laws, and help to reduce or ban chaining in your community. These are the main factors that contribute to most dog bites and can easily be avoided with education.
Enjoy this wonderful video! We’re very proud of the interview with Deirdre ‘Little Darling’ Franklin, but the video in its entirety gives us goosebumps! Watch it and pass it on!
In an effort to get the community to rally behind dogs, especially those labeled as being more aggressive, the Humane Society is kicking off its Project Pit Bull Awareness and Action Campaign at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Deirdre Franklin, author of “Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls,” will lead the discussion at the first community forum, titled “What is Breed Specific Legislation and Can It Keep Us Safe?”
The Humane Society hopes that the forum and ongoing campaign will help grow a compassionate, conscientious community that promotes responsible pet ownership and less breed discrimination.
Interview by Teoti Anderson of Pet Life Radio & Get Pawsitive Results in SC. We loved the chance to describe what BSL is, how to be a great dog parent, and to share our insight from our research in dog advocacy. Check it out!
Founder of the non-profit education and advocacy group Pinups for Pitbulls (PFPB), Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin, understands the power that pinup artwork holds in the American psyche. When she began her grassroots non-profit organization in 2005, the question became how to educate a wide enough audience to dispel the myths and misconceptions about a group of breeds (“pit bulls” are roughly 12 dog breeds lumped into one title) that have been a popular part of American culture since the early 20th century.
In her book, Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls, Franklin probes, “Who doesn’t love to look at beautiful women paired with adorable pups? Pinup girls attract all kinds of people from many different backgrounds.” The answer was to create a pinup calendar that features beautiful women with their furry family members or adoptable pups who may need some extra exposure to find their forever family. Most of the pets featured in the calendar are shelter mixes who became loving, devoted family members – and PFPB believes in fighting to protect your family through the beauty of art and advocacy.
Pinup art has been popular for close to a century, with its golden era occurring during World War II. Famed artists such as Gil Elvgren and Alberto Vargas celebrated the female form through colorful and flirtatious paintings, implying both innocence and excitement. While painting beautiful women was not a new concept at the time, early pinup artwork often depicted beautiful girls-next-door in everyday day situations with only the slightest hint of the tantalizing possibilities each young lady possessed. These images gave hope to countless young men during World War II and became an indelible piece of American history and popular culture. What better way to celebrate one of America’s most popular, though currently misunderstood, dog breeds than by embracing the art of pinups?
The nonprofit Pinups for Pitbulls aims to protect unfairly maligned dog breeds
Yardley-born Deirdre Franklin has always had a soft spot for American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers and other dogs described, collectively, as pit bulls. Since 2005, when she launched her nonprofit, Pinups for Pitbulls Inc., she has been doing everything in her power to undo the negative stereotypes surrounding these maligned dogs, which have been victimized by breed-specific or breed-discriminatory legislation—i.e., breed bans—that have placed them squarely in the crosshairs.
The nonprofit was inspired largely by the late Carla Lou, Franklin’s longtime pit bull companion who passed away in 2012 at the age of 18. Franklin’s experience in New Orleans, where she helped rescue abandoned animals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, also motivated her to go “all in.”
“I realized all the dogs in the makeshift shelters there were pit-bull-type dogs, which are popular in a lot of impoverished regions,” says Franklin. “Their owners couldn’t get back to them, and it didn’t seem fair to me. I decided to do a pin-up calendar to raise some awareness. … I had no idea people would care as much as they have.”
In 2015, the Pinups for Pitbulls calendar (now available) will celebrate its 10th birthday. Thanks in part to the expertise of two of Franklin’s longtime collaborators—photographer Celeste Giuliano and graphic artist David Seidman, both of Philadelphia—the calendar has become Pinups for Pitbulls’ greatest source of funds.
“I love pitbull-type dogs,” Deirdre told The Laurel, “because I’ve always rooted for the underdog. In falling in love with these dogs, I’ve learned that they are smart, funny, and eager to please.”
Snippet: Franklin does a masterful job at making her points in a way that is pithy and yet full of information. She breaks important information down to it’s essential parts and makes it accessible to the average reader. For someone who wrote a dissertation about a subject so complex and dear to her heart, her ability to write brief and to the point pieces of information is incredible. She gets to the essence of advocacy without mincing words and running the risk of losing people along the way. In another passage, she has this to say about Pinups for Pitbulls and animal advocacy:
“A common misconception propagated by the media is that animal advocates are not on the side of public safety. That is simply not true.”
Ten years after Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin started Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc., a not-for-profit canine advocacy group that raises awareness through eye-catching pinup girl calendars, The Overlook Press will publish a collection of the best photography from past years alongside Franklin’s personal story, educational facts about the pit bull breed, and positive training tips.
If you’re familiar with Pinups for Pitbulls, you know it’s an internationally recognized organization whose staff and nationwide network of volunteers work tirelessly to end breed discrimination and promote rescue of pitbulls and pitbull-type dogs — all while having a what looks like a really good time. What you may not know is that PFPB (based right here in my very own lovely Asheville, NC!) is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2015. Along with its always fun (and gorgeous) pinup calendar, PFPB has recently released a book to mark the occasion. PFPB founder Deirdre Franklin was kind enough to offer us a sneak peak of images from this year’s calendar (which features photography by Celeste Giuliano).
Congratulations on the book! Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls is beautifully written and designed. Can you describe the process of making the book – choosing the photographs, the design, format, writing process, etc?
It was intense! I worked closely with my editor from start to finish to put out a book that would be palatable enough to someone who might not know anything about BSL. I wanted it to be well-balanced in its ability to inform but also be attractive enough that it could be picked up by someone based on curiosity alone. I wanted to include images from the early days of Pinups for Pitbulls when photographers would submit images with their model and dog team. The format and themes have changed so much over the years and it shows our natural progression toward a more simplified approach to themes and the structure of the image itself. We want to always show the human-canine bond in each image while still creating something that is recognizable as “Pin-Up.” The writing process was the hardest part for me. I recently finished grad school with an M.S. in Public Policy. I had been a creative writer my whole life and had a tough time switching to scientific writing. I had just come out of defending my case study on the topic of Breed Bans and had to reprogram my brain again to speak from the heart and work creatively. It’s amazing what the mind can do with a simple shift in perspective! Overall, it was incredible. Seeing the book after a year of back and forth with my editor was something that I have had a hard time describing. It was nothing short of magical.
For 10 years, Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin has rehabilitated the image of the pitbull with her advocacy group Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc. She puts together an annual calendar combining her two favorite things — canines and cheesecake. The book, “Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls: A Celebration of America’s Most Loveable Dogs” (Overlook), out now, collects the best of these portraits; Franklin shared some of her favorites with The Post. You can purchase “Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls: A Celebration of America’s Most Loveable Dogs” here.
Check out this beautiful slideshow feature on the NY Daily News site!
Sixty-nine dogs rescued from a suspected dog fighting operation are getting a well-deserved second chance.
It’s a happy change of fate for these dogs; for a while it looked like they might have been freed from abuse only to be euthanized by their rescuers. Now, officials say, it’s possible many of the dogs can be saved.
Their alleged victims’ troubles were far from over once the pair was in custody.
Donna Wood, a spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, told WFLA that the dogs were “extremely aggressive” and would likely be euthanized.
Wood blamed Grant and Sanders for this outcome.
“You have tied other’s people’s hands now,” Wood said, according to WFLA. “You have placed us into a situation to where there is no way we would take the responsibility of potentially placing a child or elderly person at risk.”
It was an outrageous turn to animal lovers who’ve been heartened to see a growing understanding that many dogs rescued out of fighting can go on to be safe and loving family dogs.
“It is immoral and horrific the amount of abuse these dogs suffered,” reads an online petition against euthanizing the dogs. “How sinful — they are rescued from these evil people, only to be killed???”
Deirdre Franklin, president of the advocacy group Pinups for Pitbulls, echoed that sentiment to The Huffington Post.
“We owe it to these dogs to give them the chance that was initially robbed from them to be a dog and to know the love of a human,” she said. “These dogs deserve a chance, there are people waiting to give them that chance and we can make much better use of our resources by ensuring that good dogs find great homes.”
Pinups for Pitbulls (PFPB), a nonprofit founded in 2005, works tirelessly to end the unnecessary killing of Pit Bull-type dogs and to educate people about Pit Bulls and the flaws of breed-specific legislation. Every year, PFPB also releases a stunning calendar that pairs women with darling Pit Bulls, a feel-good purchase that harks back to the first half of the 20th century, when these dogs were viewed as war heroes, and pin-ups were all the rage. In October 2014, PFPB will publish its first book, Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls, followed by the nonprofit’s 10th anniversary calendar in 2015.
Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin is PFPB’s founder, but she’s more than just a dog lover: she’s an educator, hero and a determined voice for Pit Bulls everywhere. Bark had the pleasure of interviewing Deirdre to discuss PFPB’s work, the upcoming book and misconceptions regarding Pit Bull-type dogs.
Bark: Who are the dogs in your life?
Deirdre Franklin: My first Pit Bull-type was Carla Lou. I adopted her when she was one and had her until she was 18; she passed away in August 2012. She was the true inspiration for Pinups for Pitbulls—we often use the hashtag #itsallforyoucarlalou.
I lost my second of four dogs, Lexi Doodle, this past year to hemangiosarcoma. She lived to be 14 and was a Lab/Shepherd mix.
I currently have Zoe, a 14-year-old Harrier mix, and Baxter Bean, a Pit Bull-type from a dog rescue in New Jersey. He was my foster failure when he was five months old. His back is covered in scars from a chemical burn or having been set on fire. He latched onto my heart, and I couldn’t let him be rehomed; now he’s about nine. He is on the cover of our 2015 calendar and on the cover of the book, covered in kisses.
B: What sparked your interest in Pit Bulls?
DF: In the mid ’90s, I fell in love with a shelter dog who happened to be a Pit Bull-type, only to find out that I could not adopt her because she was a Pit Bull and was therefore sentenced to die. Despite the efforts I [made] to save her, the shelter denied my interest in her and told me it was simply policy. I did everything I could to save this dog, but unfortunately, they euthanized her. I worked with Chako, a Pit Bull rescue, to try to pull her and they offered to give me a chance. I adopted Carla Lou through Chako’s director, Dawn Capp, and the rest is history.
B: What sort of work does PFPB do?
DF: We step out of our comfort zone by displaying at comic and tattoo conventions. I also speak regularly at Amazing Pet Expos about breed-specific legislation and dog bites, reaching the unconverted and the ignorant in these audiences. It’s an honor to speak on behalf of dogs.
I also interview children who [express interest in] being Pinups in Training (P.I.T.), a term our volunteer Nancy coined. Many of these children are already passionate voices for the dogs, and want to share their love by training to be better advocates. (I started out as a child advocate 25 years ago, and I haven’t stopped.) We encourage these kids to educate their peers through their own lens.
B: Does PFPB collaborate with other dog rescue organizations?
DF: We promote any rescue that requests our assistance through our social media pages, especially Facebook, where we have over 340,000 followers. Many advocates trust our page as a resource because they know we always fact-check and use science-based information to promote dogs, rather than just emotional appeals. On average, we’ve gotten 40 or more dogs adopted per month by cross-promoting them on our page. This [statistic] is based on the people who take the time to update us on successful outcomes. We are confident that the number is even higher.
Pit Bulls: Just Another Dog
BY REBECCA SHIPMAN
By Rebecca Shipman – Managing Editor
I’m sure you’ve all seen an increase in Pit Bulls and ‘Pit Bull type’ dogs coming into your boarding and daycare facilities. People who have experience with, or even own these dogs, may welcome them with open arms. But people who don’t have much personal experience with them may cringe when the client on the phone says they are bringing in their Pit Bull for the weekend. The opinion of the latter is typically formed by the negative press or one bad experience. But how many times have you been bitten by that small mixed breed dog whose owner insists that she is the sweetest?
“All dogs are individuals. All dogs have teeth, they can all bite. And just like every other new dog that you welcome into your playgroups at your facility, they should be evaluated before being introduced to other dogs,” states Deirdre Franklin, founder of Pinups for Pit Bulls, a non-profit organization group who educates, advocates and supports rescue of, not only pit bull type dogs, but all dogs.
There’s a reason for the increase in Pit Bulls in shelters, but there’s also a reason for the increase in their adoption rates. In a recent test done by The American Canine Temperament Testing Society (ATT), Pit Bulls achieved a passing rate of 83.9%, passing 4th from the highest of 122 breeds. That’s better than Beagles, passing at 78.2% and Golden Retrievers passing at 83.2%. The average passing rate for ALL breeds is 77%.
A report from the AVSAB (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior) included the statement, “Breed alone is not predictive of the risk of aggressive behavior. Dogs and owners must be evaluated individually.”
By Sarah Bous-Leslie
Little Darling’s Pinups for Pitbulls, Founder Deirdre Franklin talks about the organization and her inspiration, the late, great, “Carla Lou”.
I had a horrifying experience the other day in Enumclaw, WA. I was walking my puppy Sherman when a lady told me, “Pitbulls are banned here, make sure you say he’s a boxer mix!” In that moment, Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) became a reality to me. It became more than an offensive meme on Facebook. I felt fear strike through my heart, my dog was in danger! People could outlaw my dog, take him and destroy him (right here in America!) and there was nothing I could do about it. They could tell me that I couldn’t live in a certain city, that we aren’t allowed. I choked down my terror and anger at senseless discrimination, finished what I had to do and got out of there.
Deirdre Franklin, founder of Pinups for Pitbulls, had an even more heart wrenching introduction to BSL. In the mid 90’s she was volunteering at her local shelter in Pennsylvania, (mostly for daily access to doggie hugs, she freely admits). A lady brought in a Pitbull type mix that she had found as a stray. The shelter informed her that if she turned over the dog, she would be euthanized. They had a “Kill Pit Policy”. Deirdre had never had any experience with the breed. She walked her into the back rooms, enthralled with the wiggly happiness of the dog! She decided to do whatever it took to save her. She tried to adopt her, the shelter refused. She called all over the country trying to find a rescue that would “pull her” from death row. She finally found a group in Texas willing to help. The shelter told them, “No.”
“I couldn’t believe it! This dog was going to die just because she’s a pit bull. How unfair and closed minded. I was devastated,” Deirdre remembers. Determined to bring a rescued Pitbull into her home, she convinced the Texas rescue to adopt a dog to her. They flew the dog (sight unseen, save for a blurry photo taken in a dark barn stall after being abandoned in a basement and rescued) to Pennsylvania. When she met Carla Lou at the airport, it was love at first sight. They became the best of friends, living all over the country together.
Pet owners and their best friends came together at Naglee Park on Saturday, Sept. 20. for the 18th annual San Jose Bark in the Park
Lynda Chase, one of the organizers of the event who led the volunteers, was excited to see so many people coming to the event.
“Last year we got rained out,” Chase said. “It poured all morning, so this is great.”
As the heat of the day rose, one notable changes from past years was the lack of dog pools. In the past, portable pools kept the dogs cool, but this year the pools were removed from the event’s plans due to the drought.
Chase said instead of using the pools they were going to have misters for the dogs, but that ultimately was considered by the city to be an irresponsible use of water as well.
“San Jose Water was going to do the misters, but the city said ‘no,’” Chase said.
Dozens of tents were decorated with various signs that promoted different rescue, adoption and awareness groups as well as vendors selling all sorts of items used for dog care, training and accessorization.
Midway along the north-eastern line of tents in pastel pink with bright red lettering was the Pinups For Pit Bulls (PFPB). An advocacy and education group, PFPB raises funds to promote awareness and to fight against the public connotation that all pit bulls are bad.
Kira Ikeda, a San Jose State University alumnus, explained how the stigma toward pit bulls is shown toward at least five pure breeds, as well as dozens of mixed breeds including the American Bull Terrier and the Stratfordshire Bull Terrier.
“They (pit bulls)can be loving family dogs, all about how they’re trained, not how they’re raised,” Ikeda said. “The goal is that not just pit bulls, but that all types of dogs are judged as individuals.”
We Chat With the Woman Behind Pinups for Pitbulls
The group that pairs models with Pit Bulls for its yearly calendar is releasing a book; we talk about rescue, BSL, and gorgeous pictures.
We adore this interview! Big thanks to Liz Parker & Rachel Yarger.
Hey sailor, would you like to talk about why laws that ban or otherwise restrict the ownership of pit bulls aren’t an effective way to promote public …
By Alison Burdo
Tattoos wind their way down his arms and up his neck, visible even when he is wearing long-sleeves. At 155 pounds and 5-foot 8-inches tall, Paul Marino is not your typical model.
“I have that ‘50’s style haircut,” Marino said. “I’m not very muscular.”
But Pinups for Pitbulls founder Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin selected the 27-year-old tattoo artist to be one of the three men featured it its 2015 calendar – a first for the nonprofit that focused exclusively on females in its previous eight calendars.
“The guys are just as dedicated to the cause as the ladies,” said Franklin, who founded Pinups for Pitbulls in 2005 to educate people about pit bull-type dogs.
This weekend, downtown Asheville is turning into a tattoo parlor. It’s the 3rd annual Tattoo and Arts Expo at the Renaissance Hotel.
Deirdre Franklin of Pinups for Pitbulls and Promoter J.R. Yarnall shared what you can expect at this year’s expo. They say the expo, formerly known as the Asheville Tattoo Fest, is bigger and better this year. There’s everything from tattooing, to music, art shows, pin ups, and face painting contests. This year the show expands beyond the hotel. The Masonic Temple on Broadway will be the site of the Food Truck Showdown, the pop up art gallery featuring work by fine artists and attending tattoo artists and the live music Saturday night.
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.
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.