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Pit Stop Montreal Rescue: Beyond the stigma


By Katie Lloyd


(Posted in 2012)

Founded in 2011, Pit Stop Montreal Rescue (Refuge Pit Stop Montréal) specializes in rescuing pit bull type dogs which includes: Bull Terriers, Bulldogs, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, American Pit Bull Terrier, Cane Corso or any other dog that animal control, shelter staff or evaluator has labelled as a pit bull. Here’s what president Irina Daminoiu had to say about the trials and successes of her rescue.


When did you make animal rescue a part of your life? And how did your adventure in animal rescue begin? 

This is actually pretty new. I started volunteering as a dog walker at the Montréal SPCA 4 years ago. Being in contact with dogs made me be more interested in their welfare. I was fascinated by pit bull type dogs that were overpopulating the shelter. I start reading on that group of dog. When you start reading about it you eventually come face to face with dog fighting. Then I start watching videos and that’s where I broke. I could not believe this was actually called a sport by some people. And then I start noticing how discriminated these dogs were. I came across Pit Bulls and Parolees (Villalobos rescue center – the biggest rescue for pit bull type dogs in the US) and then it hit me. I had to try to do something and try to make things change a little. For some time I was looking and searching for my passion/mission in life and I think doing something for these dogs and make their lives/reputation better was maybe the answer.


What were some of the obstacles that you faced when starting your foundation? And What are some of your ongoing challenges? 

Surprisingly the paper work and especially how a charity works in terms of legal paper work and relation with the government was pretty easy and everything went smoothly. The major obstacles are the time that it requires to run a rescue. We all work full-time jobs, we have about 15-20 dogs/foster families to support every week, sterilizations to coordinate/attend, evaluations to proceed, behavioural home sessions to attend, daily calls and emails to take care of every day, meetings to coordinate and attend, events to organize and attend, a website to update regularly, a Facebook page to update everyday, and so on. We are victims of our success, people expect us to answer back in less than 24 hours sometimes, the demand is huge, we don’t have a lot of donors (most of our money comes from us organizing events where we sell promotional material) and there are not enough resources for pit bull type dogs.


What future goals do you wish to accomplish with your rescue group? 

Our main goal is definitely to open a facility so we can save more dogs as right now we can only take in easy to medium dogs. The severe cases (dog to dog aggression, human aggression, severe separation anxiety, leash reactivity) cannot be taken in as we do not have families that want to work with this kind of issues and we don’t have the facility to work with these dogs, to rehabilitate them and put them back for adoption. What rescue experience moved or inspired you the most? The most inspiring rescues for me are Animal Farm Foundation and Villalobos rescue center. Adrien, Claudine and I have all attended the Animal Farm Foundation internship and we all came back transformed. Completely. We now base ourselves on their guidelines and ”way of running a rescue”.


If you could give pet owners one piece of advice what would it be? 

Be a responsible pet owner – regardless of the breed: sterilize your dog, honour your commitment until the end, always walk your dog on leash, respect other pet owners, educate others around you on responsible pet ownership and if you are to surrender your dog, never give it out for free on Kijiji, Craiglist, etc. Always go through a reputable adoption agency.


Update: Pit Stop Montreal Rescue ceased operations in 2014.


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