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Bully Breed Policy Statement

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The Tri-County Animal Shelter (serving Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert Counties in Maryland) provides the following policy statement concerning the adoption of bully breed dogs from its facility:

For more than 25 years, the Tri-County Animal Shelter (TCAS) has not adopted bully breeds to the general public. When this decision was originally made, bully breeds that were unclaimed at TCAS were humanely euthanized. About 16 years ago, acknowledging that many of these dogs had friendly temperaments, TCAS began working with local rescue groups to transfer friendly bully breeds to them for placement. This program has grown to where today, in 2013, TCAS works with local, regional and sometimes national organizations to place the bully breeds that have passed basic temperament tests. Recently, TCAS has begun a program where a notation is placed on the cage of eligible bully breeds advising interested visitors to talk to a staff person about our bully breed rescue program. We will advise them of the opportunity to adopt these dogs through one of these rescues.

The reasoning behind this is that TCAS feels that the best option for our shelter, the community and the dogs is to partner with rescue groups on placing bully breeds. We believe that we have a responsibility to the community and the dogs to do our best to make sure that our bully breeds that are placed in new homes are the Best of the Best and that they are going into homes that are the Best of the Best. Currently, TCAS does not have the evaluation protocols in place that we believe are necessary for the proper placement of bully breeds. The majority of the rescues that TCAS works with go through additional levels of behavioral assessment for the dogs, have an extensive application process for potential adopters and perform home visits to ensure the animal will be placed in a proper home with responsible owners. At this time TCAS cannot perform these evaluations of dogs and homes to the same level as the rescues we work with.

Through this program, TCAS is making an effort to reduce the likelihood of bully breeds with aggression issues being released from our facility. This program also reduces the likelihood of having one of these dogs from our facility end up in a home with an irresponsible owner, or worse, an owner with ill intentions. TCAS plans to continue working with our accepted rescue partners to assist in finding homes for as many of the qualified bully breeds from our facility as possible each year.

For the purposes of this policy, “Bully Breeds” are to be considered any and all of the following dogs:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier (Pit Bull) breed,
  • Staffordshire (Bull) Terrier breed,
  • American Staffordshire Terrier breed,
  • American Bulldog breed,
  • Bull Terrier breed,
  • Olde English Bulldog breed,
  • Valley Bulldog breed,
  • Cane Corso breed,
  • Mastiff breed,
  • Great Dane breed,
  • Presa Canario breed,
  • Dogo Argentino,
  • Boerboel breed,
  • Fila brasileiro breed,
  • Dogs which have the appearance of being predominantly of the breeds of dogs listed above.