Humane Society for Hamilton County’s Parade-A-Bull event to raise awareness of ‘bully’ breeds

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Richell Vaughn loves to brag about her 4-year-old rescue dog named Sir Jeffrey. But when she tells her friends about the new member of her family — which she adopted in June and is the family’s first pet — she inevitably gets the same reaction.

“People are always saying, ‘You have a pit bull?’” she said. “And then they tell us about some horror stories that they heard. Every time. But we tell people that he’s very gentle and well trained. He’s a perfect dog. We couldn’t ask for a better dog.”

March is Pit Bull Education month and the Humane Society for Hamilton County is hosting its annual Parade-a-Bull event, a dog-walking parade around the Monon Community Center with vendors, food, pet photos, prizes and discounted vaccines and microchipping. The event will be from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 2.

Rebecca Stevens, executive director of HSHC, said the event is a good chance to dispel some misconceptions about “bully breeds,” the term used for “bull” breeds such as the American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, boxer, Boston terrier or bulldog. Because of their reputation of being dangerously aggressive — that many like Stevens say is unfair — the term “bully breed” is sometimes used inaccurately to describe any aggressive dog.

Vaughn said she had misconceptions about pit bulls until a friend of hers in Noblesville discovered a scared, lost, tiny pit bull puppy that wandered into the yard. Years later, Vaughn and her husband met Sir Jeffrey, who had become quite famous on a Facebook page. He was found as a stray who had been hit by a car and spent 18 months at the Humane Society for Hamilton County in need of a good home.

“We really think he was meant for us,” said Vaughn, a Noblesville resident.

Her two children, Courtney, 16 and Zach, 13, adore the dog. Sir Jeffrey loves cuddling up by people’s legs and playing with toys. He’s friendly to strangers and always has a smile.

“Even though we still run into ‘breed haters,’ Sir Jeffrey and the four of us are changing minds every day,” she said.

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