Twelve Pit Bulls Need Your Help — STAT!
A Houston pit bull rescue is losing the lease on its boarding facility and is in desperate need of fosters for 12 dogs.
Treat 'Em Right Rescue announced on its Facebook page that the property manager of its facility is raising the rent to "a higher rate than we can manages," and stated that its dogs must be out by February 15.
"There is no way that we are giving up on the 12 dogs at the rescue while we look for a new facility," the rescue announced.
"We are very nervous about finding the necessary fosters. We NEED 12 fosters STAT. Of those 12, 10 need to be in one dog homes or a home with a very dog aggressive dog [savvy] foster."
The plea was posted last week, ten days after a previous plea for $2,500 to cover rent. We tried to find out more about this rescue, but the person running the Facebook page did not want to release the names of the current board of directors, nor the location of the boarding facility. The most recent Texas Secretary of State filings, from July 2015, name William Fonvielle, Valerie Stevens, and Celeste Gray as directors. The Facebook page administrator said that Fonvielle is no longer a director, but would not confirm if Stevens or Gray are still on the board.
Fonvielle, who goes by "Clay," has been the most public face of the organization — he was featured in a 2013 KHOU story about dispelling myths about much-maligned pit bulls.
Unusual for the head of a rescue group, Fonvielle also entered his pit bulls — at least one of which was purchased from a breeder — in United Kennel Club competitions, including weight-pulling. His championship dog, Boogieman, was featured in a publication put out by the American Dog Breeders Association.
Fonvielle was indefinitely suspended by the UKC last year, after an altercation between one of his dogs and a judge at a competition in Fort Worth. We were eventually able to track Fonvielle down after leaving a message with his mother in Georgia, but Fonvielle declined to discuss the details of the incident. He said he would provide a copy of a police report, but we have yet to receive it. (We reached out to the judge involved in the incident, but haven't heard back).
However, Fonvielle did give us the location of the boarding facility and invited us to meet the dogs and volunteers, and we appreciate that offer. (While he stepped down as director, he said he still volunteers).
We don't doubt Fonvielle's affection for pit bulls, but we question his approach in "dispelling" myths — harnessing an obscenely muscular pit to a pallet of bricks to show how it can pull 100 times its body weight shows off the dog's strength but little else. And posting a video titled "Pit Bull sharks feeding frenzy," which showcases a swimming pool exercise in which a pit bull bites the arm of a guy in a "Scream" mask, seems only to reinforce the pitbull-lockjaw mix. Plus, it's just stupid.
The bottom line is that 12 pits desperately need fosters, and we hope people are willing to step up to the plate. At the same time, we think it's in the public best interest for Treat 'Em Right's board members — whoever they are — to step up to the plate as well, and be a little more transparent.
Update, January 21: Celeste Gray, who was listed on the most recent Secretary of State filing as a board member, has informed us that she emailed current board member Valerie Stevens "with my resignation effective immediately" on December 15, 2015.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.