With its legal and health issues mostly behind it, Gotti, a 2-year-old pit bull healing nicely after being dragged behind its owner’s SUV five weeks ago, now is available to be adopted from the local SPCA.
That thrills SPCA officials, but they just wish the public were equally willing to embrace other pit bulls – ones that didn’t turn into dramatic, heart-tugging news stories.
Those officials cited two new developments in the case Monday.
The dog’s owner, Daniel Delaney Jr., who was jailed on an animal-cruelty charge, signed the dog over to the SPCA Serving Erie County on Friday.
And after Gotti’s latest medical examination Monday morning, SPCA officials have discontinued the dog’s medication, clearing the dog for adoption.
“We’ve tried some different kinds of treatment that have worked beautifully,” SPCA public relations director Gina M. Browning said. “He’s walking gingerly, but he’s walking.”
While some folks are leery about adopting pit bulls, because of their perceived aggressiveness, more than a dozen people called to inquire about adopting Gotti following news reports that it had been dragged several blocks by its owner’s vehicle on Buffalo’s West Side on Oct. 6.
“We have a shelter full of wonderful dogs of the same breed,” Browning said.
But people interested in adopting dogs often walk by the pit bulls without giving them a second look.
“Why is it that the community opens its collective hearts and minds to this pit bull?” Browning asked rhetorically.
The answer, of course, is that Gotti has become a huge story, an innocent victim that has become a darling in the public’s mind, rather than a symbol of an aggressive breed of dogs.
No dog deserves what happened to Gotti, SPCA officials say, adding that the pit bull showed no aggressiveness or skittishness, even after its painful ordeal and the discomfort of having its special bandages changed daily.
“He never even turned his head at us,” SPCA executive director Barbara S. Carr said. “He’s just a remarkable dog.”
Carr then talked about pit bulls.
“They aren’t bad dogs,” she said. “It’s the media who have scared us half to death [about pit bulls]. ... They’re dogs, for God’s sake,” she said.