A mix-and-mingle for pit bull owners and other dog lovers is scheduled for today, Feb. 23, at the Town 'N Country Recreation Center on Hanley Road in Tampa.
Hillsborough County Animal Services, based in Brandon, is behind the Neighborhood Pit Bull Day, designed to help pit bull owners with costly services while giving them a chance to learn more about the breed and how to overcome the challenges of ownership, said Marti Ryan, the group's spokesperson.
Pit bull terriers are near and dear to the hearts of employees at Animal Services, who have been working to raise awareness about the breed for years, Ryan said.
“We have an extremely active advocacy program that’s been growing since 2007,” she said. “We started with one or two pit bull ambassadors" and it's grown from there.
Neighborhood Pit Bull Day festivities take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the grounds of the Town ‘N Country Recreation Center in Tampa, at 6039 Hanley Road in Tampa. Brandon residents with pit bull terriers are invited to attend and anyone in the county with a pit or pit-mix can come out as well.
The first 500 or so dogs to attend will receive free rabies shots, microchips, new collars, county tags and more, Ryan said. Everything’s on a first-come, first-served basis though, so she suggests people come out early. Breed educators will also be on site to answer questions pit owners have about their dogs.
“The aim is to help keep the most at-risk dogs in loving homes through education and responsible ownership,” according to a news release about the event.
The event also features food vendors, dog contests, a children’s area and deejay music. The county asks that all dogs be on leashes and that residents leave their cats at home. Dogs should be muzzled, if necessary.
Funding for Saturday’s event is being provided by a grant from the Best Friends Animal Society of Utah. The county has also worked closely with the Bad Rap organization to create its pro-pit bull programs.
For more information, visit Animal Services online.
If You Go: 2013 Neighborhood Pit Bull Day
- What: Neighborhood Pit Bull Day
- Where: Town ‘N Country Recreation Center, 6039 Hanley Road
- When: Saturday, Feb. 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Who: Any Hillsborough County pit bull or pit bull mix owner
- Cost: Free, but concessions will cost money and benefit Webb Junior High School