The American pit bull terrier often receives a bad reputation for being mean. In reality, these dogs have a sweet temperament, making them an ideal family dog. Originally, though, they were bred for "baiting" bulls, resulting in a hardy and tenacious breed that has made it popular among those who like to participate in things such as dog fighting.
One group of men has taken on the rescue of these dogs as their personal mission. Headquartered in New York, Rescue Ink is composed of "street guys, military personnel, police officers, private investigators and lawyers." These men have come together to do "whatever necessary within the means of the law — that's what our lawyers tell us to say — to fight abuse and neglect of all kinds."
National Geographic featured Rescue Ink in a special documentary that focused on its rescue of pit bulls and how the men seek to put a stop to animal abuse and specifically pit bull abuse. Joe Panz, the founder of Rescue Ink, is passionate about two things: family and animals. This passion makes him the ideal leader for the organization.
Although the animal rescue is centered in New York, the men will travel around the United States to rescue at-risk animals when no one else will help. The organization's mascot is a pit bull rescue from Kentucky. Ribbon, as he was first nicknamed by the homeowner who found him, had escaped from a dogfighting ring and was being treated for his injuries at the Calloway County Humane Society in Murray, Ky.
Panz and another member (G.) flew to Kentucky with the help of Animal Rescue Flights. Once at the humane society, Panz and G. got their first look at Ribbon. His ears were missing and the wounds were infected. Fresh wounds on his legs made the workers surmise that Ribbon was probably a training dog that had managed to escape. Panz and G. took Ribbon home and nursed him back to health.
Because the men of Rescue Ink spent so much time caring for Ribbon, they decided to make him their mascot rather than adopt him out. They changed his name to Rebel, and he now goes into the field with the other members of Rescue Ink when they talk to children at schools.
Besides rescuing abused dogs, Rescue Ink goes the extra mile and seeks to find the abusers. The men traveled to Philadelphia in an attempt to find the person who had beaten a pit bull to death and hung the body on a railing.
After the initial investigation, the team returned and thoroughly canvassed the area, passing out fliers, speaking with people, and offering a reward for information that would lead to an arrest. The men of Rescue Ink put in hours of footwork that the police could not. The result was obtaining the first actionable lead in the case.
Tattoos, Harleys, big guys, and lots of muscle may not be the typical mental image of animal rescue workers, but for Rescue Ink, it all works.