Just over three years ago, a little pit bull puppy named Liberty was close to being euthanized at the Lucas County Dog Warden. Thanks to Planned Pethood and Carol Humberger, owner of A Promised Friend in Oregon, the little pup, now named Gianna, has grown up to be an ambassador of her breed. According to Humberger, the former puppy has been rechristened Gianna, after Gianna Jesson who survived after her mother tried to abort her some 30 years ago.
“My Gianna was the first un-owned pit bull to make it out of the Lucas County pound alive,” Humberger said. “Just over three years later, she is a great family dog and is a reliable pet and companion.”
The pit bull made news in 2009 as Nikki Morey, executive director of Planned Pethood, fought then Dog Warden Tom Skeldon to release the puppy into the care of the Toledo Area Humane Society.
The five week-old puppy was found during a drug raid in a feces-filled crate. The only other dog on the property was an adult male that was locked on the front porch. She was taken to the Lucas County dog warden.
“She stayed in isolation for three weeks at the pound until Planned Pethood found out she was there,” Humberger said. “With the help of the Lucas County Commissioners, especially Ben Konop, the pound was forced to give her to the rescue. The county rule at that time did not allow puppies under the age of 3 months to be euthanized, so the pound had her hidden, so they could wait another month and put her down.”
Humberger said Gianna was 8 weeks old when she went into foster care.
“The foster mom called me for advice and to see if I could evaluate this puppy they called ‘Liberty,’” she explained. “After meeting this sweet, smart puppy who had such a bad start in life, I decided to adopt her. She was 12 weeks old when she came to live with our family.”
Three years later, Gianna now lives with nine other dogs, four cats, birds and various farm animals.
“She gets along with everyone well, be it animals or people,” Humberger, a dog trainer said. “She accompanies me to group and private dog training sessions and has been a great ambassador for her breed.”
In March, Gianna officially passed and received her Canine Good Citizens (CGC) Award from the Toledo Pet Bull Project. Humberger is a dog trainer and CGC evaluator with the organization, but did not evaluate Gianna for the award. “She goes to classes, and she is just a really good dog,” Humberger said. “She never shows aggression with the dogs who live here as well as the dogs that come here for training, She would rather play with her ball and Kong than get into a fight with anyone.”
Because of her sweet and easygoing nature, Gianna has changed the mind of many people she has come into contact with, Humberger said.
“A lot of people believe in the myths that surround pit bulls,” Humberger said. “I have had a lot of people tell me they have changed their minds when it comes to pit bulls because of how wonderful she is.”
Humberger said Gianna has never fought or even tried to bite another dog or human. She added the myth that pit bulls will lock their jaws once they attack someone is just that - a myth. “She can’t lock her jaw any more than other dogs,” she said. “She has the quickest release when I say ‘drop it.’ She is extremely sensitive, and the most verbally controlled of all of the dogs. She does not need physical correction. A stern look is enough for her.”