Dog owners and animal protectionists are fighting over whether upcoming "bully shows” promote savage, illegal dog fights or are family events with just bragging rights at stake.
"It’s just something to introduce the dogs around this area. There’s nothing of an aggressive nature involved,” said Joey Brown, organizer of the May 9 bully event at the Ardmore Convention Center. Stephen Eberle, lobbyist for Oklahoma Animal Protection Association, said the events are a venue for promoting dog fighting. "It’s outrageous. What the community is saying is these people creating a felony should be stopped,” Eberle said. "It’s the equivalent of allowing a Klan rally and saying it’s a social dialog summit.” Yolanda Alexander, organizer of the May 16 show at the Shawnee Convention Center, said last year owners set up an American Bully Kennel Club registry for "bully” pit bull terriers — selectively bred for a more muscular, shorter, mellower dog than the typical pit bulls. Shawnee held the first bully show in Oklahoma last year. "They’re always trying to ban pits in Oklahoma and other places. We’re trying to open people’s eyes about them,” Alexander said. "Just to start a fight, these dogs wouldn’t do it. No, they would just start playing.” Eberle contends his group’s eyes are open wide enough that roughly 2,000 people have received their e-mail alerts about the shows. The alerts urge readers to complain to Ardmore and Shawnee representatives.