Rebecca Corry stands up against breed discrimination
Those of us who have adopted a homeless or neglected dog, understand the deep connection we have with our four-legged friends. Rebecca Corry is one of those people. A highly respected actress, comic and now animal advocate, she is one outrageous voice for spreading breed awareness to the greater public and to protest against laws that specifically target certain dog breeds.
"This breed is really special, my heart and my passion. I know it’s an up hill battle, but I’m dedicated to it"
'Stand Up for Pits’, a comedy show Corry created and is now playing to sold out crowds across the nation, raises funds for local animal shelters and awareness for the adoption of pit bulls.
After having rescued Angel, a dog that was brutally treated for years, Rebecca has become a pivotal figure in educating the general public about animal protection issues and in particular pit bulls. Through laughter and positive images of the breed, her travelling comedy show has been so successful, that ‘Stand Up for Pits’ has just announced they will be marching on Washington in May, 2014.
AFAS spoke with Rebecca earlier this year to discuss how adopting a brutally abused dog named Angel, transformed her understanding of the bond between animals and their human companions and the need for educating the public about breed specific legislation.
Excerpts from an interview on 2.28.2013
After the death of two beloved dogs in secession, Rebecca decided to try fostering. After researching many dogs online, Rebecca is drawn to an especially wounded pit bull.
Rebecca Corry: About five years ago, I lost a dog, a dog named Walter, and before him I had a German Shepherd named Samson, and I lost them back to back for different reasons. It was absolutely terrible. One of the worst things I’ve ever gone through. I was devastated by it. I made the commitment to myself I wasn’t going to adopt again or take on anymore dogs because I couldn’t handle the pain of it, so I decided I would get a foster.
I started looking online and about three weeks after Walter passed away, I came across this small rescue group who had a blue nose pit bull. I didn’t really know much about pit bulls and shockingly, I didn’t hear any of the negative things about them. I just noticed there was so many of them on Petfinder.com.
Someone had cut Angel’s ears off with razor blades and dumped battery acid on her, (she) had a broken tail and needed her knees replaced. She was being fostered with a bunch of other dogs and needed a quiet place to heal.
I was shocked at her condition and I just couldn’t believe anyone could do that to a dog. It was a really crazy, eye opening experience for me. After three weeks of having her I fell madly in love and I just started educating myself on what was going on with this breed, how absolutely ridiculous and shocking it is that the solution seems to be to kill or to ban them all.
Art for Animals' Sake: I find it so shocking the amount cruelty someone can inflict on another living being and still have that animal love the person back. Its amazing the resiliency of these animals.
RC: Obviously animal abuse is a major problem, but I also think it’s a giant social issue. There have been so many studies done that people on death row and so many inmates have admitted torturing and abusing animals. It’s a very obvious problem that is going on and on and no one seems to be doing anything about it.
Just educating people through laughter
Angel makes me laugh so hard, she is my ‘everything’. I just decided that something had to be done. I figured what could I do now and make a difference is combining comedy with animal rescue, that was what was feasible for me. I created an event called ‘Stand Up for Pits’. Just educating people through laughter, instead of the horrible images. You can find that all online line, but (at ‘Stand Up for Pits’) you can come and laugh an entire night. 100% of the ticket sales go to the local organization throwing the night.
People ask me, ‘you’ve been doing this (comedy) for twenty years in this industry and what are you most proud. I say ‘Stand Up for Pits’ is what I’m most proud of. I just think it’s amazing this energy and how many people come out. There are adoptions and silent auctions and Angel is in the kissing booth, which is absolutely hysterical
It’s just growing and growing and I speak with people everyday that want it to come to their cities.
AFAS: What I think is great, being a performer, you already have a venue and media that is immediately accessible so the message can be spread faster. Just having an articulate voice in the game is so incredible. Being smart about the animals you do adopt and picking the right animal for your lifestyle. Sometimes its just not the right match for everyone.
RC: Let’s educate ourselves. Should you just go to the pound and pick one up? Absolutely not! I tell them to think about what you need in your life and research that breed, the needs of that dog and find out if you’re able to give that dog what its needs. It’s really just finding out what time you have and what you can do.
What works is educating somebody. That’s why I try to keep ‘Stand Up for Pits’ as a very positive experience for everyone. And they keep coming. People love this event.
AFAS: I think it’s amazing the impact animals have on us; you’ve said Angel saved you not the other way around.
RC: I was literally beyond devastated with my other two dogs and having her gentleness, there is a depth and wholesomeness to Angel and to pit bulls in general that I see. They are so soulful and so kind. What she endured for five years was unimaginable, she lived her life at the hands of a monster, but she had nothing but love to give. She was just an example of what forgiveness and love was and she helped me to heal and I helped her heal too.
Throughout my research and as I got deeper and deeper into what is happening to pit bulls, it wasn’t just like one day I decided to dedicate my life to this cause, it was at some point just not an option.
I will fight for this breed until my dying day. I believe that what is happening to this dog, this breed, is a horrible state of social affairs that needs to be examined and stopped.
The key to advocating for this breed, is challenging everyone to focus on the positive. The positive stories, let's make someone see positive media and images of this breed. This breed is really special, my heart and my passion. I know it’s an up hill battle, but I’m dedicated to it.