Long before Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood was making national news headlines, B-More Dog began providing services in this community. Many of you may remember in July 2009, when a pit bull was set on fire. The dog initially survived and was named “Phoenix” by the rescue community, but later succumbed to her injuries. This terrible event took place just blocks from where Freddie Gray made headlines this year and the ensuing community outrage led to the formation of the Mayor’s Anti-Abuse Task Force/Commission.
B-More Dog's Board Members were horrified by the acts of violence against animals in our city. We wanted to help spread a humane message. Since 2009, B-More Dog has targeted the 21217 zip code with our services. In the months after Phoenix’s death, we realized that we needed a free humane education program for any school, community center, after school program, or church, that would have us. We started lesson planning and then we contacted the principals of the all the public elementary and middle schools in 21217.
In 2012 and 2013, B-More Dog held Community Pit Bull Day events at Franklin Square Elementary & Middle School because a pit bull-loving principal supported our program.
Unfortunately, starting in 2014, the public school system changed its policies about allowing non-school-sponsored events on its grounds and we were unable to continue at the Franklin Square location.
In winter 2014-2015, while planning for the upcoming year, B-More Dog identified Harlem Park as a location to hold a Clinic event in June 2015. Unfortunately, due to torrential rains, we had to postpone the date of the Clinic. We re-scheduled the event for July 25.
In weeks before a B-More Dog Clinic, B-More Dog’s Board members reach out to community organizations in the neighborhoods we serve, to provide information and flyers about the event. Over the years, we have honed our contacts for each area of the city. Many official Neighborhood Associations have little to no online presence or otherwise do not respond to our attempts to spread the word about services coming to their community. Then, as a Clinic gets closer, we pound the pavement to hand out flyers in the community and post flyers where allowed.
On July 24, the day before the Clinic, B-More Dog received a phone call from the Mayor’s Office that a neighborhood association complained about the B-More Dog Clinic coming to Harlem Park. B-More Dog’s President Pauline was confused because she and other volunteers had just spent time on the streets of the Harlem Park community spreading the word and talking to dog owners who were excited about the event. Pauline spent many hours working with various contacts in the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and the Baltimore Police Department, among others. At the last minute, B-More Dog had to make the decision to cancel the Clinic due to threats of legal actions if the park was used by our organization.
B-More Dog remains dismayed that the neighborhood association denied their fellow neighbors access to free services for their 4-legged family members. We were especially crushed as this was the first time, since starting our community outreach events in September 2011, that we’ve had to cancel an event. However, Dr. Myers got our wheels in motion and did not let our resources go to waste with the Ellwood Park “Pop-Up” Clinic.
B-More Dog plans to return to Central West Baltimore in the future to provide services.