Comedian and actress Rebecca Corry was born and raised in Kent, Wash. and went on to a successful career in Los Angeles, but she says she found her true calling as an animal activist after she fostered a pit bull terrier that had been badly abused.
“Angel,” found in South Central Los Angeles, had been used as a bait dog and over bred.
“Someone had cut her ears off and poured battery acid on her back. She had a huge chemical burn,” said Corry.
Having lost her own dog just a month before, Corry had vowed never to own a dog again, but she decided to foster Angel.
“It turns out we both needed to heal, and we ended up healing together,” said Corry.
It goes without saying that Corry adopted Angel, and Angel is the inspiration for Corry’s nonprofit, the Stand Up For Pits Foundation, which is aimed at spreading awareness about pit bull terriers and dog fighting, as well as protesting breed-specific legislation.
Corry emphasizes that yes, pit bulls are terriers.
“The word pit bull is polarizing,” she said. “It immediately evokes a negative response.”
She says pit bull terriers are inherently good.
“People say it’s not the dog it’s how they are raised. I believe that to a certain extent and then I believe it doesn’t really apply because you look at dogs like Angel - all they knew was pain and torture and fear and hate and once they were removed, once they felt freedom, their true self came out.”
Corry believes pit bull terriers are targeted by sociopaths.
“We have hundreds of thousands of young men walking the streets of America who are committing heinous acts against animals, and whether you like dogs or not it still affects you,” she said.
“You should care because that kid, that young man, will likely and most oftentimes do, go on to commit those same acts against humans.”
There has been a push to ban so-called “bully breeds” - a move Corry says is ridiculous. Corry calls it “breed discrimination legislation.”
“Breed specific legislation is banning the victim,” she said. “You don’t ban the victim. You get to the root of the problem and solve it.”
“It’s humans who force the dogs, not necessarily train them, but force them to do horrible things,” she said. “They’re born good, they’re inherently good… the Michael Vick dogs are a prime example of that. They knew nothing but torture but they are in loving homes today.”
In an effort to get her message out, Corry is organizing the "One Million Pibble March on Washington D.C.” next May. (“Pibble” is the affectionate term for pit bull.)
Unfortunately, dogs aren't invited.
“It turns out two leggeds are the ones who can change laws not pit bulls," said Corry. "Realistically, legally, the U.S. Capitol is not a dog park… it’s just too much to risk."
Corry was pleased to hear that the Obama administration has come out against breed specific legislation.
“The leader of the free world agrees so we’re starting to wake up after years of pit bulls being tortured,” she said.
“I’m not telling you to love pit bulls, but as a society we have a big problem on our hands, and it’s not a secret, especially when the head of the ASPCA says about the recent bust of a dog fighting ring, ‘We’re just scratching the surface.’”
“Pit bull terriers are the mirror of a broken society – they are the victim here,” she said.
Corry is passionate about getting the word out about pit bull terriers and is using her comedy to do it.
She is back home in the Seattle area this week and will be performing at the Tacoma Comedy Club on Sept. 29 in her “Stand Up For Pits” fundraiser.
“Stand Up For Pits, the event, is the exact opposite of the Sarah McLachlan commercial. It’s about celebrating the breed,” she said.
The event, co-hosted by KISS FM's Jackie Cunningham, will include dog adoptions, music, a silent auction and of course, comedy.
“It’s going to be a really great show. We’re excited about it. It’s a great way to celebrate the breed and raise money.”
The money raised will go to three different groups: Stand up for Pits Foundation, Forgotten Dog Rescue and Saving Paws of Washington.
"Sometimes I feel overwhelmed … like I’m in quicksand… because it’s such a big problem," said Corry. "Saving one at a time, educating one person, makes a difference. If we all remembered that and did one thing we could solve this stuff. "
“My point in doing everything I do is to create safe and humane communities for humans and pets. I think it’s absolutely doable.”