Help us care for our shelter animals until they find their forever homes...



Adopted:  May 2014

Current Age:  About 10 years old

The Truth About Pitbulls


What is a Pitbull?

This probably seems like a silly question, but it’s important to understand what we mean when we refer to the name Pitbull.  Pitbull is an umbrella term that most people use to refer to a long list of different types of dogs that fall into the "bully" breed category.  The label Pitbull often describes mixed breed dogs that share similar physical characteristics such as a square shaped head or a bulky body type.

While there are those who may disagree with the inclusion of many specific breeds being labeled "Pitbull" type dogs, the reality is that many of these dogs are Pitbulls in the eyes of the law.  The American Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and sometimes the American Bulldog are often included under this term.

Myth Busters... Know the Truth!

MYTH:  Pitbulls have locking jaws.

TRUTH:  There is no physical locking mechanism in the jaws of a pitbull, their jaw physiology is no different from any other breed.

Why do Pitbulls fill our shelters?

1. This is obviously a big question, and one with a lot of components, but the #1 reason Pitbulls fill our shelters is quite simply, overpopulation.  There is still way too much breeding and it doesn't help that Pitbulls tend to have larger litters.

Each year, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized, approximately 40% of whom are Pitbulls. This means that nearly half a million Pitbull-type dogs are killed in shelters annually.

Here at Sammie's Friends... Volunteer programs and spay/neuter campaigns have helped lower our euthanasia rate from 68% to less than 1%.

Sammie's Friends is proudly a no-kill shelter!

Tails From An Old Friend

Updates and photos from previously adopted Sammie's Friends Pitbulls.

Support our shelter Pitbulls and signup to donate just $5 a month!

The funds raised through this special campaign will go toward providing our shelter Pitbulls (and their new owners) with a complete Obedience Training Course.  Yep, every Pitbull that gets adopted from Sammie's Friends will get to spend quality time with their new family and learn how to always be a "better dog".  Help us give all of our bully breeds this invaluable gift.  Please sign up to donate just $5 a month!





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Pitbulls are beautiful in their variety, but their most appealing features are their inner qualities. Strength, confidence, a sense of humor and a zest for life are all hallmarks of the breed. They also tend to be sensitive and get their feelings hurt easily.

Properly socialized dogs are quite affectionate and friendly, even with strangers, and therefore do **not** make good guard dogs. Pitbull's are intelligent and eager to please and tend to remain playful throughout their lives. While some can be low key ‘couch potatoes,’ many others need a job to channel their enthusiasm and energy. They excel in dog sports, search and rescue work, drug and bomb detection work, and as therapy dogs.

Severe shyness, fearfulness or human-directed aggression is NOT a characteristic and of course, highly undesirable in any dog.

MYTH:  Pitbulls are more aggressive than other dogs.

TRUTH:  Aggression is not a breed characteristic or personality trait, and is not specific to any one breed of dog.

2. Breed Specific Legislation is another big reason we see so many Pibulls in our shelters. Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is a law that bans OR restricts certain types of dogs based on their appearance, usually because they are perceived as “dangerous” breeds or types of dogs. These restrictions make it extremely difficult for families to take in and sometimes keep their Pitties.

Here are some tips to help you and your dog find the perfect home together...


Adopted:   2013

Current Age:  6 1/2 years old

The History of Pitbulls - Part I

The history of the Pitbull can be traced back to the early 1800’s in the United Kingdom. Pitbulls were originally bred from Old English Bulldogs (these dogs are similar in appearance to today’s American Bulldog) who gained their popularity on the British Isles in a cruel blood sport known as “bull baiting”. One to two Bulldogs were set to harass a bull for hours until the animal collapsed from fatigue, injuries or both. These matches were held for the entertainment of the struggling classes.

However, in 1835 the British Parliament enacted the Cruelty to Animals Act 1835, which prohibited the baiting of some animals such as the bull and bear. Once bull and bear baiting was outlawed, the public turned their attention to “ratting”. This practice pitted dogs against rats in which they were timed to see whose dog would kill the most rats in the least amount of time. The “pit” in Pitbull comes from ratting as the rats were placed into a pit so that they could not escape.

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court passed the Animal Welfare Act of 1976. This groundbreaking act made dogfighting officially illegal in all 50 states. Today, dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In most states, the possession of dogs for the purpose of fighting is also a felony offense. As well as, being a spectator at a dogfight is illegal in all states except Montana and Hawaii.


Adopted:   2010

Current Age:  11 years old

MYTH:  Pitbulls are not good family dogs.

TRUTH:  Pitbull's are actually some of the most popular types of dogs in America. According to, the American Pitbull Terrier is one of the top three favorite breeds in 28 states. Because Pitbull terriers are so popular, some people are overbreeding them and others are neglecting to spay or neuter their dogs, resulting in too many unwanted litters, which means that our animal shelters fill up with them!


To Pitbull or Not To Pitbull!

by Cheryl Wicks

October is National Pitbull Awareness Month in honor of the patriotic All American Pitbull.  Sammie's Friends is joining in to give this wonderful breed of dog some recognition and hopefully get some adoptions in honor of this month's celebration.  We have lowered our adoption fee from $90 to $10 for the month of October.  Anyone adopting a pitbull will receive free enrollment in a six week dog obedience training class. 

Sammie's Friends is having a "Pitty Party" on Saturday, October 27 from 10 am to 2 pm with games, pumpkin carving (courtesy of the Food Bank) a bounce house, a raffle with the grand prize being 4 tickets to Disneyland, and so much more.  The main event, of course is meeting our great pitties and hopefully adopting one of them.

Many of you know what a great dog the American Pitbull Terrier can be. It is unfortunate that they have gotten such a bad reputation. Pitbulls often live and play successfully with other dog and are great companions to their people.  Many are friends with cats. The great majority love people. One of our local vets says his favorite patients are Pitbulls and Labrador Retrievers because when he sees one of them he is quite sure he won't get bitten and with other breeds he's not so sure.

On the one hand, people believe Pitbulls are bred to be fighting machines, and on the other hand, there are people who think it is all in the way they are raised. If a Pitbull has been bred to fight it has a propensity in that direction.  As with the herding dogs;  they like to herd and hunting dogs like to hunt. Most Pitbulls are not bred to fight and are often mistreated because they won't fight.

In their early history they were called the little nanny because they are so good with kids. As an example, Petey of the “Little Rascals” was a Pitbull. Their raising definitely makes a difference. An analogy would be having a spirited child. If properly nurtured and directed this child may excel at sports. If not, he may be beating up the neighborhood kids. It is a combination of nature/nurture. Being a responsible parent is important. It is also important to be a responsible guardian to your pets. 

It is estimated that close to a 750,000 Pitbulls are euthanized every year in shelters.  Most of these pitbulls have done nothing wrong.  Pitbulls are not at the top of the list for dog bites.   95% of dog bites of any breed are from unspayed/unneutered animals.

To put the "scary Pitbull" in context consider the following:

1 out of every 37 people in the U. S. is a convicted felon.

There are a half million registered sex offenders, many whose whereabouts are unknown...

50 people every DAY are murdered (humans are sometimes a dangerous species).

25, 000 people die each year because of drunk drivers.

Each year 17,000 people fall to their death.

3,000 deaths a year are caused by accidental drowning.

3,000 women a year die of spousal abuse.

2,000 children are killed every year by their parents, through abuse and neglect.

(A child is 800 times more likely to be killed by their adult caretaker than by a pitbull).

On average there are 32 deaths per year caused by dog attacks.  There are 74.5 million dogs in the United States.  It is at least a hundred thousand times more likely that a “Pitbull” will be killed by a HUMAN, than the other way around.

If you want to know more about pitbulls and their suitability for your family check out the following websites

or   As well I am available to answer questions: 530-272-8833

We invite you to come to Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter, 14647 Mc Courtney Road, Grass Valley and adopt our wonderful

pitties during this special month or any other time.  We also have dogs of many other breeds, if a pit is not for you.  And

don't forget our precious kitties.  They need homes too.   We are open Monday - Saturday from noon to 4 pm.

Cheryl Wicks is the Co-Founder and President of Sammie's Friends and the Director of Sammie's Friends @ Nevada County Animal Shelter


Thank you for helping Sammie's Friends raise awareness during National Pitbull Awareness Month.

We hope that you learned something new about this often misunderstood dog.

Check out these interesting facts about the Pitbulls that came through our shelter doors...

The bottom line... that is a lot of Pitbulls in Nevada County! Please help us keep them out of the shelter and in loving homes. Encourage your family and friends to spread the word about the importance of spay/neuter.

Tell them to visit our website for resources, assistance and spay/neuter info for Nevada County.

1,425 Pitbulls have come through our shelter doors since 2010.

609 were picked up as strays and returned to their families

731 were adopted to new families

41 went to other rescues

26 died (due to severe injuries/illness)

6 were euthanized (due to severe injuries/illness)

10 are still in our care or in foster

1 was stolen

1 we are not able to locate