Kim Barnes with American Bulldog Rescue says there are overwhelming numbers of the breed in Harford County in need of help.
Barnes hopes this holiday season people will consider adopting or fostering a dog in need.
A Bel Air native who now lives in Pylesville, Barnes says she and a number of volunteers in the Jarrettsville area are passionate about helping American Bulldogs.
"Dog rescues in this area, Harford County, is hard because we are so close to the 'Amish puppy mills,' " Barnes said.
Lancaster County in Pennsylvania has been identified since the 1990s as a large producer of puppies and has also been criticized as having kennels with poor living conditions for dogs, according to pieces on Nightline and in the New York Times.
“Harford County is just infiltrated by American Bulldogs in need of help,” Barnes said.
She explained that many people buy American Bulldogs expecting them to behave like English Bulldogs. The American breed, however, is very different from the English ones. American Bulldogs are taller, bigger and more active. They are also more affordable to purchase.
"A lot of people get American Bulldogs because they are $1,000 cheaper," Barnes said.
When the dogs grow bigger and more active, however, they often outgrow the owner's expectations or ability to care for them, Barnes said.
“Our dogs come from primarily two different people," Barnes said.
She said that the rescue often inherits dogs from people who can’t take care of them and from animal shelters before they are euthanized.
"We can’t save them all because we just don’t have anywhere to put them," Barnes said.
That fact is one Barnes hopes to change. The rescue she staffs invites people to foster the dogs until they can be adopted.
The rescue is always in need of volunteers to help transport the dogs to and from the veterinarian and kennels. The rescue pays for vet bills, conducts temperament testing, makes sure the dogs are tested for diseases and checks out potential adopters.
"One of the benefits of adopting through us is they are fully vetted," Barnes said of the dogs.
She said the rescue gets between 15 and 20 pleas for help a day, either by email or through the website.
For that reason, and because boarding at a kennel costs $10 a day per dog, the rescue is always in great need of volunteers willing to foster the American Bulldogs.
"We go to great lengths to match the personalities of foster dogs with volunteer individuals and families," Barnes wrote in an email to Patch.
She said there is no defined period for fostering a dog, but if things change, the dog can always be moved somewhere else. After the rescue screens a potential adopter and approves them, they pass the person's contact info on to the foster owner to set up a meeting at their convenience.
The rescue gives foster owners final say on the adoptions and the first option to adopt the dog.
There are currently several dogs in Jarrettsville up for adoption through the rescue.
Anyone interested in volunteering or adopting can visit the American Bulldog Rescue's website or contact Barnes, 443-386-6170.