Bully Breed Behaviorist Returns to Beaufort County to Change the Behavior & Reputation of Pit-Bulls
Author: CH2 Press Release
Fundraiser for Malachi Foundation, July 21, at Bluffton’s Pepper’s Porch
Cera Fletcher is passionate about pit bulls.
She has been training them for more than a decade and sees firsthand how a once perceived aggressive dog can turn into a cuddle partner once you give that dog permission to just relax.
The 30-year-old Beaufort resident who basically lives at Bluffton’s Three Black Dogs kennel spends the majority of her waking hours rescuing, rehabbing and re-homing these dogs from abusive situations.
In her spare time, she is also teaching owners how to re-train their so-called “bully breed” dogs so both are respectful and confident of each other. Since returning to Beaufort County in April from West Virginia, she has spent her days training in the kennel, counseling dog owners, staging adoption events, working with other rescue organizations and, at times, taking dogs home for intensive one-on-one training.
Holly Zusack, founder of the Malachi Foundation and owner of Three Black Dogs Kennel, begged Fletcher to return to Beaufort County months before her husband relocated to the area so she could be the behaviorist in charge of rehabilitation of the 80-plus dogs the Foundation has rescued since it was founded in September of 2011.
“It is the goal of The Malachi Foundation to start throwing cups of water of education into an ocean of ignorance and misinformation to reframe how people perceive these wonderful creatures and, in time, have a hand in saving this breed,” Zusack said.
Origin of the “Bully Breeds’” Bad Rap
Fletcher said pit-bulls and similar breeds have a bad rap due to the actions of criminals who have used these dogs for status, fighting and other abusive purposes.
“Historically, pits-bulls were bred to be nanny dogs,” Fletcher said. “There literally were raised in households to babysit and protect the owner’s children.
“Their loyalty is unsurpassed and will do anything to please their owner; unfortunately, the breeds have fallen into the hands of abusers and the dogs are now taking the blame for their survival skills they are forced to use in cruel and inhumane living conditions,” Fletcher said.
“Along the road, people with greedy and abhorrent intentions learned of the strength, stamina and loyal stubbornness of these dogs. They found a form of demented amusement as they deformed their natural traits (i.e. cutting ears, etc) and fought this wonderful breed for money and entertainment. In time, these bully breeds have undeservingly terrified people due to the actions of a small yet, powerful criminal element who are literally killing the breed.” Dog & Owner Training Classes Offered: As part of the Malachi Foundation’s mission, the organization offered its first training sessions for owners and their dogs starting in July 1st.
“With nearly no advertising except Face book, we had more than dozen owners and their dogs show up,” Fletcher said. “The demand for information and training is bigger than I ever imagined.”
The Malachi Foundation offered these classes are on donation-basis and will continue them indefinitely.
The classes are called “Fay’s Way,” in honor of Fletcher’s 7-year-old pit-bull who is also a rescue and is Fletcher’s inspiration to save more of her dog’s counterparts.
Bully Breed Success Story
In late May, Bluffton resident Sammie Amatolu, came to Three Black Dogs and said, “Please fix my dog.”
The manager of Pepper’s Porch said she was mentally drained with trying to correct her new 7-month old pit-hound mix named “Copper.”
Amatolu said Copper would bark, growl and lunge at people.
Fletcher said this is a dog way of saying, “I’ve got this.”
Fletcher said bully breeds and other alpha dogs don’t run away from problems, they run straight into the problem.
“The problem is, many times, there isn’t a problem. Using animal instincts, a dog is hyper-vigilant and may perceive he or she has to take on the world and defend their owner. They do that by urinating, barking, growling and defending their master.”
Fletcher said her bully-breed “boot camp” is a three-part process of gaining the dog’s love and respect, breaking the dog down of destructive behaviors and rebuilding the canine with confidence.
At the same time, the owner has to change his or her behavior and let the dog know that he or she is in charge and is the alpha. Once the dog knows his or her place in the dog’s perceived “pack,” the dog can relax and just be a dog.
Ten days after Copper’s training began, Sammie got her dog back.
“Sam went from a person with a dog to a handler and the leader of her pack,” Fletcher said. “Copper now knows Sam is able to do her job so Copper can drop his hyper-vigilant behaviors and just be.”
Fundraiser/July 21/Bluffton’s Pepper’s Porch/Kissing Booth “Kiss A Bully Before It Kisses You”
Zusack said the demand to rescue and rehabilitate these dogs is huge and constant; the biggest problem is having enough funds so The Malachi Foundation can house, feed and rehab these dogs which are usually rejected by many other rescue groups.
The next fundraiser will be held at Bluffton’s Pepper Porch on July 21st from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. The Malachi Foundation will have its Kissing Booth operating and dares participants to “Kiss a Bully Before It Kisses You.” Volunteers from The Malachi Foundation will also have dogs available for adoption.
What is a Bully Breed?
The name originates in the 19th century England where dogs were used for bull baiting and were bred to protect livestock, property and families. The “bully breeds,” are known to come from the root canine stock called “Molosser.” Molossers are known to be dogs with large bones and muscles, dangling or hanging ears and short muzzles.
Today “bully breeds,” just means the dog is derived from a bulldog. The breeds include the following: American Pit-bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bull Terrier, Miniature Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, English Bulldog, Olde English Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Dog de Bordeaux, Mastiffs, Boxers, French Bulldog and Boston Terriers.The Malachi Foundation The Malachi Foundation was founded in August of 2011 when a toothless, tortured pit-bull was found wandering Highway 46 in Bluffton. The pit-bull, named “Malachi” became the symbol of how a dog from a local fighting ring can be rescued, rehabilitated and re-homed.
Since August 2011, The Malachi Foundation has rescued more than 80 dogs.
The Malachi Foundation and its rescued dogs are housed in Three Black Dogs, a kennel and doggie day care facility, located at 33 Ulmer Road in Bluffton, South Carolina.
Bully Breed Behaviorist
The Malachi Foundation/
Three Black Dogs
33 Ulmer Road
Bluffton, South Carolina 29910
(Cera’s Cell) 843-252-6693
(Office/Three Black Dogs) 843-706-3456