Bindi was one of the lucky ones -- a dog adopted into a new family from the Humane Society of Central Oregon.
But Bindi is a pit bull, and her new family did not own their home. These factors made the adoption problematic — the Bend shelter doesn’t allow people who rent to adopt pit bulls or any other powerful breeds, including Doberman pinschers and rottweilers, among others.
So the family skirted the rules and had some homeowners adopt Bindi for them. But within a year, Bindi ended up at the very same shelter.
Jerleen Bryant, a board member for All For the Dogs Rescue of Central Oregon, said Wednesday that the bad reputation of pit bulls, paired with growing restrictions on what type of home these dogs can live in, is often to blame.
“Pit bulls really have gotten a bad rap,” Bryant said. “And it’s truly because a segment of our society that isn’t that great has gravitated toward this breed.”
Kevin Restine, general manager of Plus Property Management agrees the breed carries an unfortunate reputation, but said it does contain an element of truth.
“There are pit bulls, for instance, that are very friendly, loving animals. The problem is they have such a notoriety for being vicious, and there are documented cases where they are,” Restine said.
Restine says these cases are the drive behind recent movements where cities, homeowners associations, insurance companies and rental property owners are restricting what type of dogs people are allowed to own.
Pit bull advocates argue the rules are unfairly targeting a loving breed, but real estate officials say the precautionary measures are necessary.
"Within the concept of pets,” said Restine, “the restricted breeds, which are typically pit bulls, Doberman pinschers, rottweiler, and those types of things -- there's a fairly extensive list -- we simply just don't allow, because of liability reasons."
Landlords may worry about liability, but HSCO Bend shelter manager Karen Burns said their shelter simply requires home ownership out of the best interest for the dogs.
"Any animal deserves a life-long home, and not to be moved from home to home, or given away or re-homed,” she said. “We just determined we were getting way too many of these breeds returned because when the adopters tried to move, the landlords were telling them they did not want the breed on the property."
Bryant said her rescue does not require homeownership, but instead emphasizes screening all potential adopters carefully, to create the best matches for their animals.
"We look at the big picture," she said. "We're looking for committed adopters, people who have a history of being committed to their pets. If somebody is committed, they will find a place to live with their dog."
Still,, Bryant said she can’t ignore that landlord restrictions make it harder to place pit bulls, and she said she hopes for a future without breed discrimination.
"Maybe property management companies would have a temperament test on the dog that the renters want to bring," she said. "If they don't have an acceptable temperament, then they can turn those people away."
But Burns said requiring homeownership has drastically reduced the number of returned powerful breeds to the Humane Society -- and this makes them hopeful Bindi’s next home will be her last.