Many people presume that pit bulls are a naturally aggressive breed. Time and again, pittie owners and animal care professionals do everything they can to prove that this is false and to fight for the rights of these animals. No other dog breed has suffered so much public scrutiny.
Despite their bad reputation, pit bulls remain loving, loyal pets. Just ask musician Dan Tillery, who was overjoyed to be able to adopt his own pit bull. He was so happy with his new friend that one of the first things he did was share a photo of himself with his new pup on Facebook. Little did he realize that posting that picture would soon cause him a great deal of anguish…
Dan Tillery, a musician hailing from Waterford Township, Michigan, recently moved into a new house with his girlfriend, Megan. Feeling like they were missing something that would complete their home, they decided to adopt a dog!
The young couple headed to their local shelter, Detroit Dog Rescue, to see if they could find the pooch of their dreams. It wasn’t long before a white American bulldog, who’d been there for 100 days, grabbed their attention.
After seeing the sweet photo of him posted next to his cage, the couple knew the pup, then named Sir Wiggleton, was the one. Excited about their adoption, they brought him home, snapped some adorable pictures, and shared them with their friends on Facebook.
Everyone could instantly see how happy they made each other. For only having been in his new home for a few short hours, Sir Wiggleton, whom the couple renamed Diggy, surely looked comfortable in his new place! Clearly they’d made the right decision in adopting him.
When the staff from the Detroit Dog Rescue saw the photo, they quickly shared it on their own page to show just how happy they were. Before long, the picture had gained widespread attention from people all around the world…
“We know this photo is going to break the Internet and we apologize, but we had to share,” the caption read. “After almost 100 days in the shelter, Sir Wiggleton just got adopted. Sir Wiggleton and his new Dad are celebrating adoption day with huge smiles all around!”
Of course, Dan was elated that so many people supported his and Megan’s decision to adopt Diggy. Yet, it wasn’t long before the image brought unexpected and unwanted attention. Before he knew it, the Waterford Township police were knocking at his door. But why?
As it turned out, the officers arrived because one of Dan’s Facebook friends, who’d seen the picture, reported that Diggy was a pit bull mix—a breed Waterford Township had previously banned. They’d considered pit bulls to be dangerous dogs.
Dan was taken aback. His adoption papers said that Diggy was an American bulldog, so why was this an issue? And despite only knowing Diggy for a couple of days, he knew in his heart that the pup wasn’t dangerous. Doggy even greeted the officers at the gate and licked their faces!
“They said, ‘We’re dog lovers, that’s cool, he seems like a good boy,'” Dan recalled in an interview, adding that they even “took some pictures of him.” Presumably, that was the end of that—but it was really just the beginning.
Despite the adoption papers clearly stating he was an American bulldog, the officers performed a visual inspection and decided Diggy was actually a pit bull mix. At that point, they gave Dan just three days to remove the pooch from his house.
“From our standpoint, it’s a pretty clear case of an ordinance that makes it clear what’s permissible and what’s not,” Scott Underwood, Waterford Police Chief, told reporters. “Our job is to enforce the ordinance.”
It wasn’t long, however, before outraged fans of Diggy began to rally for his rights. Locals even started an online petition to lift the ban on breed-specific legislation. Meanwhile, Dan prepared to have a formal meeting on the matter.
“Don’t worry, Diggy is safe at home with me and his momma,” Dan wrote on Facebook. “My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family. Thanks for all of your support, guys.”
Still, despite a three-month-long court battle, town officials ruled that Diggy was a pit bull mix and that it was illegal for Dan to own him. By then, the petition to lift the ban had garnered 111,000 signatures. No one could’ve expected what came next…
At the end of another lengthy debate, officials ultimately decided to dismiss Diggy’s case. It turned out that the “visual inspection” conducted by police was not a legal way of determining the dog’s breed. That meant it was completely legal for Dan to bring him home and keep him for good!
After the official ruling, Dan, his girlfriend, and their beloved Diggy were overjoyed to be reunited once and for all. They knew they belonged together, and there was nothing that could keep them apart any longer.
Diggy did not let this tough ordeal slow him down in the slightest, either! In fact, all of the press surrounding his case made him a bit of an Internet celebrity. Soon, he was meeting lots of other American bulldogs just like him!
While he had no trouble making canine friends left and right, Diggy’s absolute best friend was still always going to be Dan—and that was obvious to anyone who saw pictures of them together.
Ultimately, if it wasn’t for his owner’s determination—as well as the petition from so many dog-lovers—Diggy’s story could have had a very different kind of ending. Luckily, it all turned out alright!
There’s still a lot of work to be done to clear the pit bull’s reputation as an aggressive breed, but at least Dan and Diggy got the happy ending they deserve!
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