Greg Murray, photographer and pit bull advocate

Greg Murray—an animal photographer and rescue/pit bull advocate director, whose new book is “Pit Bull Heroes: 49 Underdogs with Resilience and Heart”—recalls his earliest experiences with dogs, growing up as a tyke with one named Muffet. Murray explains that his affection and passion for pit bull-type dogs truly began when he and his wife adopted a pit mix named Leo. They subsequently adopted a second pit mix, Kensie. He discusses the way pit bulls are often maligned, how they can become a highly-charged, polarizing topic, and the way pit bull opponents often express criticisms of the dogs propelled by myths and misconceptions. Given that backdrop, I raise the possibility that he had to expect that “Pit Bull Heroes” would generate some backlash or outright attacks, and Murray responds that indeed he does have that expectation, including having to hire a policeman to be present at a forthcoming book event. This discussion of the perceptions of pit bull-type dogs, and the riled-up contingent, dovetails with a conversation about breed specific legislation (BSL)/breed discriminatory legislation (BDL), laws that ban or restrict certain types of dogs based simply on their appearance—which most often applies to pit bull-type dogs. We touch on Charlie, one of the dogs highlighted in Murray’s new book, whose saga helped ignite the effort to fight, and ultimately, repeal BSL ban on pit bulls in Lakewood, Ohio. We also discuss Apollo, an abandoned, about-to-be-euthanized pittie who became a hotshot drug-sniffing dog for a Washington police department. Randomly talking about canines included in the book, we also talk about Chango, aka Instagram sensation “Chango The Handsome Pittie,” something of a dandy who wears stylish clothes and shades. We mention a deal that Murray’s publisher is offering until the book’s publishing date, Sept 3: For each instance of someone pre-ordering the book, the publisher, Gibbs Smith Publishing, will donate $1 to pit bull-oriented rescues or other organization mentioned in the book—the organizations will be selected at random, and the donated money will be shared. (http://www.gmurrayphoto.com, https://www.facebook.com/gmurrayphoto, https://www.instagram.com/thegregmurray/, https://www.instagram.com/changothehandsomepittie/?hl=en)

ALSO: I spoke with Brian Brown, director of the Official Animal Rights March—Tampa Bay, slated to happen on Aug. 17, part of a collective of like-minded marches taking place across the world on that day. Brown outlines the history of the March, launched by Surge in the U.K., noting that in 2018 there were 28,000 attendees in 25 cities. This year, the March has expanded to 38 cities, Brown explains. He also explains how the Tampa Bay March will work, actually taking place in St. Petersburg, meeting at 10 a.m. in North Straub Park, and marching in a loop around the bayside area. He also points out that folks interested in joining the March can just turn up at North Straub Park that morning, and either fashion your own signs and placards, or March organizers can provide you with those. Those and other details are presented on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/319120038730899/

COMEDY CORNER: Bill Burr’s “Pit Bull”  (https://billburr.com)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  Peter Gabriel’s “Schock den Affen (Shock the Monkey)”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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