Actually, they're euthanized, stuck in an oven and cremated, headed to the Big Chew Toy in the Sky. Their ashes then get dumped in big barrels hauled to the curb for trash disposal. All this according to an unnamed KCK Animal Control Center employee who, when we identified ourselves, said: "If I had known you were with the media, I wouldn't have told you any of that."
The city's sympathies remain with the family of the 71-year-old woman whose fatal attack prompted KCK Mayor Joe Reardon to enforce a long-neglected anti-pit bull ordinance. It's hard not to take Reardon's side when we're talking about an old lady who was saved from being mauled to death only because she had a heart attack first. But some animal lovers side with the dogs whose actions, they argue, are due to bad owners who encourage the breed's aggressive tendencies.
Thus, a pit bull underground railroad has formed.
One KCMO pit bull lover, who prefers to remain nameless, offers a suggestion of her own: Find a vet who will take a look at a wagging, well-trained dog with pit bull traits and write a note declaring the dog of "mixed or indeterminable" breed, wink-wink. This actually makes sense, considering that the American Kennel Club doesn't recognize "bully breeds" as an actual breed.
The Harriet Tubman of this railroad has to be Mary Bebermeyer, a 22-year-old Kansas City Art Institute student who has planted her feet in front of the KCK Animal Control Center and intercepted people turning in dogs for destruction. She hands out fliers that urge alternatives: The owners can bring dogs to the Missouri side of the state line for adoption at an animal shelter or sign ownership of the dog over to someone who lives on the Missouri side.
While Bebermeyer handed out fliers last week, a couple walked up with two 3-month-old pit bull puppies they'd found in a recycling bin. Not wanting to see the two cuties become puppy dust, Bebermeyer took them in herself. She's already got a dog, so she took the puppies to Wayside Waifs, which was booked through the beginning of September with appointments for taking in dogs.
"They were very, very close to not taking them," Bebermeyer says. After a bit of pleading, she prevailed. Meanwhile, the city of Kansas City, Missouri, is now considering anti-pit bull laws.
"I feel like I just can't win with this," Bebermeyer sighs. She even called PETA for backup but hasn't heard back. She and other dog-lovers will continue standing up for the breed anyway. It has, after all, turned out to be the summer of the pit bull.
We were nodding in agreement with the Royals' latest marketing ploy to increase attendance by giving away bobbleheads of baseball legends Frank White, Dick Howser and George Brett (the last of the trifecta will be available August 19). In the midst of what could be another 100-loss season, it might help fan morale to see those former idols shaking their plastic heads in agreement.
But then the T-Bones hawked a bobbler of Survivor's Danni Boatwright on July 24 and we realized it doesn't take much to become a yes-doll these days. So we called Richard Lynn, the owner of The Bobblehead LLC in Lee's Summit, to find out just how common the casting of bobble-people has become.
Lynn has worked in the miniature and sculpture portraiture business since the 1970s but formed his own company in 2000. He says his staff conceives roughly 500 new mini-me's a year. They create one-of-a-kind dolls for birthday parties, retirement bashes, weddings and, of course, game-day goodies. Making a single doll costs about 400 bucks, but when mass-produced, the cost-per-doll ratio reduces to just a few cents.
Lynn refused to take credit for the Royals' tiny nodders, or the T-Bones' Boatwright, saying he has nondisclosure agreements with many agents and leagues. Still, he gave us a few examples of real people he's spoofed. He's done a Howard Stern and a Dr. Phil, who raises his fist in a triumphant manner. There was the Homeland Security Agent bobbler and faceless figurines of a Starbucks barista with a place to insert your photo here.
"You know the Supreme Court Justices all have bobbleheads, and they swap them," he says. Chief Justice John Roberts' version came complete with the justice clutching a red box of french fries and a small toad by his feet perhaps some inside joke.
Lynn also got mileage out of a mock-up of a New Jersey-based company's notoriously tightfisted CFO, squeezing a piggy bank in a headlock, his eyes bulging. Employees have since told him that the doll shows up in pictures at offices worldwide.
While an indicator of celeb status, the toys do not guarantee popularity for their real-life counterparts. Recently, Lynn fielded an order from a detachment of U.S. Army officials for a head-shaking doll of North Korea dictator Kim Jong Il. "He's just standing there with his hands in his pockets. I haven't the slightest idea what the Army is doing with it," Lynn says. "Target practice? I don't know."