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It has been 1826.25 days since my “pit bull type dog” has gone pit. 1826.25 days since my “pit bull type dog” has morphed into the infamous land shark that lurks the concrete ocean.  I’m not sure what is going on with him, but in 1826.25 days that he has been alive, my mutant land shark has failed at evolving into the hideous beast that Dogsbite.org swears to me would have happened in at least the 2nd year of his life.

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2011 was the year our “pit bull type” dog graced our door steps. Little did I know, that according to Dogsbite.org, 2011 was the year that the world was going to end all because we had a “pit bull” puppy entering our small household. While our “pit bull” puppy did not go all “pit” on anyone that year, some pretty epic things did happen that had absolutely nothing to do with pit bulls.

  1. Burma’s Move Towards Democratization
  2. Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot along with twelve others while making a public appearance in Tucson
  3. On March 11th an underwater earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 hits off the coast of Japan, causing a tsunami that hit the Iwate prefecture with waves over 130 feet high.
  4. On May 2nd, it was announced by US President Obama that Osama Bin Laden had been found and killed by US Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan
  5. The US Military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned open homosexuality in the armed forces was officially repealed on September 20th.

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( I can’t decide.. does he look he’s  about to gnaw on my leg or is he wanting the plate of treats I have cut up for him?)

In 2012, our big eared bat dog- the every growing “pit bull type” puppy had failed to eat me, my husband, our other pets and any other family member. Surely, he was just a late bloomer? Well, according to Dogsbite.org, our black landshark just hadn’t reached the magic age yet. The transformation from family dog to man eating dinosaur was scheduled for early 2013, of course my family was on high alert! When would this monstrous morph happen? While we were sleeping? Going grocery shopping? At work? 2012 was a rough year, sleeping with one eye opened and bread sticks placed everywhere just in case we had to stop the Dogsbite.org guarantee of the murderous change in our undog.

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(Excuse me.. but I muuuustache you a question..)

2013 rolled in with a bang! This was the year, Dogsbite.org confirmed, year 2 was the magical number. According to Dogsbite.org founder, year 2 was when pit bulls go from loving pooches into murderous man eating land sharks bent on earths destruction.  So we waited…..

Queen Elizabeth II had her Diamond Jubilee, mass shooting at Aurora Colorado movie theatre, Curiosity Rover landed on Mars, the first Marvel’s The Avenger movie released, Hurricane Sandy rolled in and caused mass destruction… yet, my demon dog from the bowels of Satan slept through it all. What the heck? How could this have happened? I mean, according to Dogsbite.org and BSL advocates, 96% of pit bull types have killed people, pillows and animals and the remaining 4% just killed stuff and stayed unreported.

(Jebus… they look like twins!!)

2014….you know, maybe our “pit bull type dog” just wasn’t a mauling sort of beast, maybe his weapon was gas. Maybe, just maybe he was trying to kill us with his silent and deadly gas passing? It came close a few times… 2015 came and went and it seems as if he’s just gotten lazier, like the direct opposite of what Dogsbite.org  swore to be me that he would become. It’s June 10, 2016 and as I peek under my desk watching my land shark sleep curled up on a over stuffed animal, I realize just how awesome my land shark is and how millions of families feel the same way about their gas passing pooches.

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(Gee…. I wonder who the grumpy one in the house is?)

At the end of the day, my dog, like millions of others like him are just that- dogs. I wish I could say he’s just like every other dog, but that would be a lie, because he isn’t. No dog is just like the next dog and every dog should be judged as a individual dog. Isn’t that what dog shows do? You could have 5 of the same breed standing in the same line and only one will be placed #1?

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So yes, my dog comes before any BSL/Dogsbite.org member roaming the internet. Why is that? Because my dog is innocent, just like millions of other. My children deserve to chose the breed of dog they want when they become responsible adults. They deserve to do the research, reflect on their own personal experience and make responsible decisions themselves and I refuse to let BSL advocates who can’t even maintain their own lives make that choice for my children, our pets and their future pets.

A Little Help Understanding Your Un- Friendly BSL Advocate

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It’s no secret that BSL advocates are such twisted complicated creatures of hate, murder, mayhem and hypocrisy. Yet, they live among us and as a society we need help understanding just what that really means.

 

It’s Not Me, It’s Totally You.

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Are you educated? College degrees? Have at least a semi functional working brain? Access to the internet? None of that matters according to BSL advocates.  If you are not following Dogsbite.org or Daxton’s Friends, you are brain washed and being duped by the GREAT BIG MEAN ‘OLE RICH PIT BULL LOBBY. Somehow, the Pit Bull Lobby has conspired with the FDA to slip mind controlling drugs in all of the food you buy to make you incapable of making decisions such as finding a family pet.

Observing, not Stalking.

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Look, if you decide to post ANYTHING on social media that disagrees with an BSL advocate, you have given them unwritten and unknown permission to stalk investigate you. Even if you haven’t said anything but just happen to have caught their eye unknowingly, you still give them permission to message you and send you long emails telling you why you should kill your dog. Just remember, you are not allowed to respond, disagree, report or do anything that slightly resembles a response, because that would be harassing and considered stalking.

It all Adds up Eventually, Right?

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They are 887% positive that it makes sense and for some reason, they just don’t understand why the majority can’t do the math.  It has to be all the mind altering drugs that the Pit Bull Lobby is contaminating the water supply with?

 

The Family that Hates, Kills and Stalks Together Stays Together

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Who needs biological family? Not BSL Advocates that’s who! Many times, family members of BSL advocates find themselves on the attacking educating end of the BSL advocacy and find themselves disagreeing with the unhealthy obsession of their BSL supporting family member and slowly distancing themselves from that person.

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Can Anything Be Done?

Of course! While you might never understand their craziness or their sheer stupidity, you can continue living your life just the way you want to!  Enjoy your family, play with your dog breed of choice, be a responsible dog owner and never be afraid to speak up. Be everything a BSL advocate can never be…. An awesome person.

Making History

It’s amazing how one phone call can change so many lives and that is exactly what happened with the Dampman family, Philadelphia and for one little brindle pit bull puppy. Like so many dogs, the little brindle puppy wasn’t born into the greatest of environments, but like millions of others, that little brindle puppy will grow up to be yet another amazing dog that demolishes the negative stereotype of his breed.

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Chrissy Dampman was no stranger to the rescue world. Rescuing pit bulls and pit bull mixes from the sewers of Philadelphia, injured and starved, she’s always had room in her heart for the breed. After a divorce from her husband of 15 years, she wanted to do something besides just rescuing and loving them, she wanted to take that extra step and when she had the opportunity, she decided that is exactly what she would do.

 

Ring Ring

The chance came in November 2012, just a week before Thanksgiving.  Chrissy’s daughter called her from the Delaware County SPCA excited about a small brindle pit bull puppy.  Brewsky, rescued along with his litter mates off a corner being sold for drugs had caught the eye of Chrissy’s daughter and she knew he belonged with their family and just like that, the Dampman family were on the path of making history.

First things first, Brewsky changed to Chad and puppy training started. “Chad was an awesome puppy. I exposed him to everything from day one. Kids, people, other dogs, noises, flooring and of course puppy classes, which he always did so well in. Teachers and people just loved him.” recalls Chrissy, “He just had the quality of attracting people wherever we went.” It didn’t take long for Chrissy and her family to realize that Chad had so much to give and share and Chrissy couldn’t wait to take that journey with him.

Baby Steps

Like many dog owners out there, Chrissy and Chad found themselves at Petsmart. Knowing how important socialization training is for puppies, Chad found himself around other dogs and learning the basics. It didn’t take long for the energetic puppy to let his owner know that he was wanting more than just the basics.   Wanting more for Chad, Chrissy started searching around for different places that offered much more than the just the basic training and it wasn’t long until she found Philly Unleashed.

Philly Unleashed, rated Best of Philly of 2015, has seen their fair share of amazing dogs and dedicated owners.  Connecting with an amazing trainer, Jennifer Green, Chrissy and Chad enrolled in classes and it didn’t take long for their trainer to see just how special Chad was and asked if Chrissy was interested in working with Chad to become a Therapy dog.  That path had never dawned on Chrissy and she decided to research it and look at Chad a bit differently, “I started watching and noticing his behavior around young children, even babies. With people in general, and I really thought he had that skill.” Chrissy knew it would be hard work but it was something she knew both her AND Chad could do.

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The Road of Awesomeness

Contrary to BSL Advocates, not every dog can pass the Canine Good Citizen training & testing and what is so great about dog owners that participate in the training for the certificate is that it isn’t just about the dog, it’s about how hard the owner AND dog are willing to work together to be great examples of responsible dog ownership.  Chrissy and Chad faced ten tests and they knew they couldn’t fail one single test, yet, that is exactly what happened the first time around. Feeling defeated and embarrassed, Chrissy just didn’t know if they would be able to succeed. The trainers and evaluators knew that Chad had it in him and Chrissy and him just needed to work on it just a bit more. Unsure but knowing deep down that Chad was meant to be a therapy dog, Chrissy rolled up her sleeves and went back to work with Chad and they were not going to stop until they both succeeded. Chad took his test twice and by then, the once playful and goofy puppy learned to understand the difference between play time and working time.

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It wasn’t long after the completion of earning his CGC certification, that he went on to therapy dog training and registered with Therapy Dogs International. In November 2014, Chad was the first pit bull accepted into the pet therapy program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and that alone was not an easy task. Chrissy and Chad had to go through interviewing and screening, Chad had to be medically and behaviorally screened through the Mathew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, background checks, Child abuse clearances, health clearances and orientation and training. He isn’t done yet with breaking stereotypes, in 2015, Chad the Pit bull was nominated for the 2015 AKC award for canine excellence in recognition of his services as a therapy dog.

(Images from BG Productions)

Dealing with Ignorance

Sadly, like millions of other owners, Chrissy and Chad have caught the attention of BSL advocates and have come under attack from them. Why you ask? For being awesome examples of just how amazing Chad is… and because of his breed.  Just recently, Dogsbite.org volunteer, Julie Wall sent an email with the purpose of harassing the Dampmans and unfortunately the Dampmans are not the first nor will they be the last victims of Dogsbite.org members and volunteers.

It’s no secret that William Johnson, outspoken member of Dogsbite.org & Daxton’s Friends resides in Philadelphia, is known for launching cruel attacks on families of therapy dogs, his last online harassment campaign was against an family with an autistic child and their service dog Pupcake and he isn’t alone.

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When you are making history and breaking stereotypes, you are bound to stir up the haters, which is exactly what people like Solesky, Johnson and Wall are.

“I think stuff like this when it happens makes you stronger and it makes you want to work harder for people to see and realize and try to make them understand”

 

Chrissy absolutely understands the stigma that is placed unfairly on Chad and millions of other dogs based off their apparent breed and how they look. When asked how she felt about the annoyance and harassment from BSL advocates,  she sharesWell to be honest with you. It’s no different then when I am working with Chad and people point out what he is and pick up their children and run away. It happens in my neighborhood all the time and I have had that happen to me at children’s hospital as well. ” She refuses to let it stop her and Chad from helping and educating, “I try to educate everyone I meet about them. It’s becomes not just about Chad then, it’s about all of them. I feel like I fight for him everyday. And if I touch or change one person along the way then I have done my job !!!”  It’s a never ending job and it’s a job that Chrissy and Chad are always going to be working at.

2016 will be a big year for the duo. Chad is being honored with the 2016 Ginger award from the Delaware county SPCA. The award is given to an exemplary pit bull in the community who is a breed ambassador. He will be getting the award on April 9th and 10th.

Learn more about this inspiring award.

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The Good, The Bad and the Down Right Ugly of Social Media

I was recently asked an interesting question:

What affect the internet and social media have had on the debate over pit bulls.

…. And to be honest, it’s a complex question that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Let’s rewind time before the wonderful world wide web became available to the average Joe.

Our source of news was the TV, the newspaper and magazine publications which didn’t offer up the opportunity to instantly debate, correct, comment or share as we do now. Articles could and would repeat misinformation always with the slanted and obviously hyped heading ready with the purpose of selling. One view, one sided and usually unchallenged.

In the old days…

Brian C. Anderson’s article written for City Journal in 1999 is a great example of just that. Headline screaming, “Scared of Pit Bulls? You Better Be!”, filled with the usual cry for a breed ban and paragraphs of just how horrible the dogs and their owners are.
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Who could forget the July 1987 cover on Sports Illustrated? The Pit Bull Friend and Killer” in bold letters, followed by the opening statement: America has a four legged problem called the American Pit bull terrier…”

Fast forward 20 years and it’s a whole new world. Of course, some of the media still runs the same misinformation, articles slanted with the purpose to garner clicks and subscribers ::::coughcough thetimesherald coughcouch::: that are filled with limited fact checking and nonsense, but unlike 20 years ago, the public can chime in as soon as the articles are published. Owners, veterinarians, trainers and experts can speak up and respond.

Building a Nationwide Community

The internet and social media has done wonders for the pit bull community. It creates places for millions of owners to talk, vent, ask questions, advocate, rescue, change laws, change minds and work cohesively to build a safer community for humans and their pets together.

Social Media has given non-profits like Stubby’s Heroes’ a platform to reach more people not just in their community but nationwide.
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(Stubby’s Heroes’)

Launching their “This is Your Neighbors Pet”, Stubby Heroes’ slays the misconception and unfair stigma placed on millions of innocent dogs and shattering the unfair stereotype of millions of dog owners.

Thanks to social media, it gives owners a voice in sharing the lives of their pets and families. From pages like Rafa, The Not so Baby Pibble and Juno Z dog to the rescued and rehabilitated Vicks dogs, like the amazing Ray the Vicktory Dog that shared his training and rehabilitation with the world. Social media has also exposed the fear mongering that PETA and other BSL fear mongering groups attempting to call for the destruction of these amazing dogs.
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(Ray the Vicktory Dog)

Thanks to the internet and social media, communities can pull together to organize anti BSL efforts while helping each other in sharing resources, tips and stories.

 

The Double Edged Sword

For as good as the internet and social media is for our dogs, it also opens the door for BSL advocate groups like Dogsbite.org, Daxton’s Friends and the Pit bull Propaganda Machine Reveled to spread their own message and create an online community.  It allows those intent on banning these dogs and isolating their owners a view into the lives of the people they have every intention of destroying.  From cyber stalking, threatening and even taking images of children to mock and ridicule on their hate pages,  the internet and social media has become just as valuable to them as it has their opposition.

It’s incredibly easy to point out all of the bad and place it justly on the shoulders of BSL advocates when it comes to damaging the image of the pit bulls and their owners, but it wouldn’t be accurate. As with any debate that stirs such emotion, extremists will always lift their ugly heads and extremists can be found on both sides of this argument. It became painfully obvious during the case of Mickey (the dog) and Kevin ( young boy from Phoenix) just how extremists from the pro pit bull advocacy was doing just as much damage as the BSL advocates.

It’s become obvious that the fight has been moving off the dogs and have become a human issue and the reason is a no brainer. Dogs have no clue about BSL. They have no clue that there are people bent on their destruction, nor do they always get to pick their owners. There are millions and millions of fantastic and amazing owners, yet many times, we hear about the small selective few who are absolute morons that should never have been allowed to take care of any living thing and have caused such a horrific tragedy that the news have plastered the story all over the internet.

Thanks to the internet, you can google anything. Not only can you find positive pit bull videos but you can find the worst videos ever known to man that include pit bulls. Unlike BSL advocates, I refuse to post them. Honestly, I refuse to even google them. There is no denying the brutality that these dogs can commit when placed in the wrong hands and sadly, the wrong hands can sometimes be from the people who had good intentions in the first place.

To Kill a Myth

Repeat after me… There is no such thing as a Nanny Dog. There is no such thing as a Nanny Dog. There is no such thing as a Nanny dog.

There is no such thing as a Nanny Dog.  We do not live in a Disney cartoon where our dogs wander around with a bonnet and have the ability to babysit our children. Are our dogs amazing? Yes. Do they “love” their family members? Of course.  Will they try to protect their family? Absolutely, but will your dog babysit or take care of your child all by themselves? Hell no.

It makes my eye cross when I read “Pit bulls were bread to be Nanny Dogs!” because it logically makes absolutely no sense to me and nor should it make any sense to any pit bull owner. Our dogs are powerful animals. The strength and stamina they have is amazing and yet, they can be gentle, lazy dogs but the key word is: they are just that… dogs. Animals. Carnivores. They don’t process things like humans, nor will they react the same way as humans and it’s obvious by certain videos circulating the internet, there are many humans who are not even capable of reading their dogs body language.

 

Parents who find this cute and funny….

None of that makes sense to me but if any of those dogs bite those children, the parents will stand around and wonder “But I don’t know what happpppennned!” I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it’s true: The Nanny dog myth kills and it needs to stop, with us. Our community needs to keep correcting it EVERY DAMN TIME WE HEAR IT. A great advocate said something that I think is essential because it is 100% true :

“The fact that these dogs are good family dogs has been twisted by our own community and is causing our dogs to fail, and for kids to get hurt.”

The greatest thing about the internet and social media when it comes do our dogs and our advocacy is that it gives all of us the chance to speak up and squash the misconceptions and myths that started a long time ago. The internet and social media is our tool and it can help us do amazing things. It can help us find homes for dogs, help our community with services, fund raise, share, laugh, make amazing friends across the nation. It gives us an opportunity to pull together and be the voice for our pets and our families. Just like any tool, it comes with great responsibility because for as good as it can do, it can just as much harm with the simplest of ease… by just pressing enter.

With Great Power comes Great Responsibility

  • Spiderman or Voltaire
  • (Your choice…)

Her Name was Becca.

 

Her name was Becca.  She was 22 years old, a loving fiancé, an adoring mother to an 18-month old daughter, a close sister, a cousin and a daughter.  She was filled with so much life, filled with so much love and had the capability to do and be anything she wanted to do and at 22 years old, why wouldn’t you be filled with so much…life?

Becca was brutally killed December 3, 2015 after a devastating dog attack. As a mother, my heart breaks, not just for the young daughter she left behind but for Becca.  As a mother, one of my dreams in life is to live long enough to watch them grow into amazing women who will make a difference in the world, be it small or large and I am sure that Becca and I shared that dream.

I will be honest, I barely slept at all last night after writing a story about her tragic death. I kept looking at my 2 ½ year old who was continuously kicking me in the throat because she wanted to sleep like a toddler ninja that took up 68% of my bed and the urge to pick her up and cradle her was overwhelming. I know, deep down inside as a mother, that the last thoughts that Becca had as she laid on the cold hard ground dying was about her beautiful daughter Molly. I can only hope that those images in her fading mind where her daughters infectious laugh, those bright blue eyes and the smile that could make the heart of the Grinch grow two sizes bigger. I pray that as she took her last breath, she thought of the games of peek a boo and playing catch with a beach ball in the dining room and I can only hope that with her death, we all learn something that a tragedy like this can teach us. Compassion.
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This death shouldn’t be about a fight over Breed Specific Legislation, but like many controversial issues, it never is that simple and I think this tragedy shines a light on the ugly belief system that fuels the Pro- BSL Advocacy and shockingly,  Dogsbite.org Colleen Lynn sets the tone for this as she herself labels the grieving fiancé as a “super nutter” because he spoke out and refuse to try to destroy a whole breed of dogs because of the actions of a few. Dogsbite.org, a “public education website” dedicated to advocating for Breed Specific Legislation and the extermination of all pit bull, pit bull type dogs and a every growing list of breeds of dogs they deem to be dangers.  
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According to Colleen Lynn, Dogsbite.org champions the rights of victims through their research, education and advocacy, even going as far as stating: “Victims of serious and fatal dog maulings, families and friends, health and public safety officials and the concerned public need advocates too. We advocate for you.”  Yet their online behavior screams just the opposite, which seems to be selective at the best and the requirements are simple:

Join in their fight for the banning and extermination of pit bull/pit bull mixes or what they deem pit bulls.

This is the side of the BSL Advocacy, the self-proclaimed “victim’s advocacy” that the public needs to see. Their advocacy isn’t about making our community a safer place or allowing the grieving families to attempt to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives in a safe and protected atmosphere, it’s about keeping the victim’s family in this violent and vicious circle of continuous pain to break them down and submit to their cause, to break them down to such a weakened state that the victims’ families just can’t not find the strength the fight the onslaught of abuse that the “victim’s advocate” heap onto the family.

“Apparently when you have a family of pit bull breeders…. they will do/say anything to keep that business thriving. Even when a beautiful life has been stolen. Disgusting. The fiancé needs to be LOCKED away. That child needs to be protected!! I PRAY.”- Jennifer Martin Kim

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“This guy OWNS a Pit Bull?!?!?  His kid is next, it’s just a matter of time…” Joy Bailey

 


“And yes, you do destroy a whole breed because of a few bad seeds because there are safer breeds available. We do this with humans too. Every Nazi was rounded up and executed.”- James Hassinger

“Her grieving fiancé needs a lesson in grammar and spelling check.

Oh, and he probably should do a little scientific research before making claims that the attack has nothing to do with the breed”- Rebecca Tomaszewski

“He’s a piece of shit. Maybe he threw his lady over the fence…. doesn’t sound like a great relationship to me?  What a f****ing fiasco during the attack; no real action so the Pit Mix joins in the fun too”- Lesley Karen Luscombe

“She was probably escaping from this idiot’s violence. He’s probably happy the dogs finished off the job he started. And I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if he ran her or tossed her into that yard.” – Stacy Westover

“This twerp is the perfect size for an overhead swing and a head first slam into a garbage can, followed by the question, “Still feeling accomplished mother fucker?”- Jimmy Younger

“White trash, possibly abuser!!!” – Sandrine Sandy Georges

 

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I wish I could say “Becca is in a better place” and mean it. As a mother, the best place I could think of would be with my family and I know that is where she would want to be. Heaven on earth was walking the beach with Molly’s hand in hers. I grieve for Becca and I grieve for the light extinguished far too soon.

Thanksgiving with the Cliftons

I guess when you are married to the man known for infidelity and bull shit statistics, one must live by a set of rules.

1. Never disagree with Merritt

Why is that? Go ahead and ask Merritt’s new wife’s son ….

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Greg posted a picture of his children with a “Happy Thanksgiving” message onto the Facebook page of his infamous step father… It seems as if one of Beth’s children refuses to follow in his mothers footsteps and throw their family dogs under the bus and he’s paying the price for it. His own mother blocked him because her son- her flesh and blood- decided he didn’t want to hear Merritt’s regurgitated bull shit.

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Maybe Beth doesn’t realize, but just because she married Merritt doesn’t mean her children have to accept him. Has she considered that maybe he doesn’t want that lying and notorious womanizer as his stepfather OR grandfather to his children? Considering the type of dogs Greg does own, maybe Greg is tired of Merritt classifying him as a KKK racist dog fighting piece of trash for owning pit type dogs?

Great mothering Beth, it’s either Merritt’s way or the highway…right?