Pit bulls can be the stuff of nightmares…… or they can be devoted, lovable family members. In this story, the fearsome pit bull plays the latter role. Meet the Devia family: Carol, her husband Peter, and her sons Leandro and Christoffer. They have a labrador mix, Camilla, and a pit bull, Rocco. They also had a roof over their head. That is, until they chose to keep Rocco over an apartment. The Devias would rather be homeless than turn their backs on Rocco, their pit bull.
Rocco is primarily white with brown patches, including one around his eye. You can see Carol Devia and Rocco in the picture below.
Carol and Peter, of Walnut Creek, California, unfortunately both lost their jobs as newspaper delivery people due to an alleged breach of security. Due to the loss of income, the family was forced to move out of their apartment that allowed both of their dogs. When they began their search for a new place to live, everyone was fine with Camille, the lab. It was a different story when they saw Rocco. The Devias claim that no one would rent them an apartment as long as they had a pit bull.
Most families in such a circumstance would make an alternate arrangement for their dog. Possibly a friend, or even some type of humane shelter. But not the Devias – They preferred to keep the family together, including Rocco, and live out of their car in California.
When asked how the family lives, Carol indicated that the family spends a lot of time driving back and forth between wooded areas where the dogs can get exercise and parking lots where they can get Wi-Fi and make food with their Crock-Pot plugged into the cigarette lighter. They’re working new jobs delivering newspapers at night and sleeping in their car during the day, she said.
She described Rocco as the kind of dog that would sleep next to her family members every night. Carol recognizes her dilemma:
I can’t find a place unless I give up my dog, and everyone tells me to, but I can’t do that. We’ve had Camilla her whole life and Rocco her whole life.
Animal welfare advocates report that there is a bit of a housing crisis for pit bull owners, with landlords forcing people to choose between their pet or a roof over their head. Donna Reynolds, the director of Pit Bull advocacy organization BAD RAP, has seen many owners unable to give up their pit bull for fear that it will be put down at a shelter. Reynolds suggests that pit bull owners consider a variety of options – ask friends for help, post on Craigslist, and talk to rescue organizations.
Unfortunately, many pit bull owners, the Devias included, find themselves in a situation where they have to choose between their dog or a place to live. This may seem like an easy decision to most; provide a home for your family. However, the decision is an emotional one. To many dog lovers, their pit bull is just as much a part of the family as their children. It seems unfair to make a family choose between two unacceptable options: lose their beloved pit bull, or lose their home.
Is it fair for a landlord to ban a specific breed of dog, such as a pitbull? Let us know….