In a world where stereotypes are everything, a group of people is fighting back with help from an organization that not only gives bulldogs a second chance, but people, as well.
Bullies, or bull dogs, have had a bad reputation for years, but an organization wants to change all that.
American Bully Kennel Club was established in 2004 to give bulldog owners a place to be appreciated and give their pets a good name. The American Bully breed was created in 1990, but is not the only breed accepted or recognized at the club.
Lizcano Knight Bullies founder Alberto Lizcano (left) receives a letter of commend-ation from City of Dunkirk Mayor Anthony J. Dolce.
GFB Minnie shows off her first-place ribbons from the American Bully Kennel Club.
Other bulldog breeds include; Olde English Bull-dogge, Shorty Bull, American Bulldog, Old Roman Bulldog, English Bulldog and French Bulldog.
The majority of bully owners are African- American or Mexican and are fighting their own stereotypes. A DVD has been released called "Intro To The American Bully," which is a documentary on the origin and future of the American Bully, presented by Dog Source. In it, owners talk about how they can relate to their bullies.
Local American Bully owners Alberto Lizcano and his son, Jose Garcia, received an award for "Save A Bully" at the American Bully Kennel Club 2013 Nationals.
"Save The Bully" recognizes owners who save the breed and give them a good name.
Lizcano and Garcia "proudly represent the city of Dunkirk" and have received acknowledgment from Mayor Anthony J. Dolce on their achievement.
The ABKC is a worldwide club that was created to register and showcase American Bullies and other bully breeds. They have shows all over the nation that allow bully owners to show their dogs and positively influence people to love the breed.
In the DVD, bully owners and lovers talk in-depth about the horrible misunderstanding and treatment of these dogs.
Breed-specific legislation is a law passed to restrict or ban certain breeds. Accord-ing to "Intro To The Ameri-can Bully," all the bully breeders are trying to stop BSL.
Texas dog lawyer Zan-dra Anderson explains the dogs are not born to be bad.
"By nature, they are very friendly to humans," she said. "You can make any dog mean if you treat them badly."
Anderson said she grew up with an American Pit Bull Terrier, and the dog was a "very willing dog" that would "do anything they wanted it to do."
Owners of American Bullies or other qualified breeds must be members of the ABKC to qualify for shows.
An American Stafford-shire Terrier is believed to be "the perfect bully" breed and is known for its loyalty and stability with humans.
Lizcano has been a proud bully owner and in the club for two years. He has been to three shows and is looking forward to his next one in January.
He came up with the idea for Lizcano Knight Bullies when he, "Thought of the bullies as knights of the round table, because they are gentle and have strong bodies."
Lizcano currently owns three bullies; GFB Minnie (2 years old), LKB Phoenix (11 months old), and their newest addition to the family, LKB Storm.
Bullies come in different classes: Standard, Pocket, XL, Extreme and Classic.
Lizcano's bullies are Standard (LKB Phoenix) and Pocket (GFB Minnie and LKB Storm).
Standard class means a bully gives the impression of strength for its size. Pocket class states a bully is shorter than a standard, but still must appear strong. All classes require the bullies to appear strong.
Jampierre Orrada comes along with Lizcano and Garcia to all the shows and is a "huge help to making things go smoothly."
"He makes us feel safe knowing the dogs are safe during the show," Lizcano said.
It is a long process to be a bully owner and participate in the shows.
The dogs are expensive and need constant care. They need to have a perfect bite, strong muscular legs, shiny coats and be well-behaved.
The bullies need to be registered through Bully Pedia, and come with their own family trees. The bullies have to be perfect to be registered and have excellent breeding. One cannot just buy any bully and admit them into the club; every bully must have a mother and father who have been registered through the club. They also need to be licensed as ABKC bullies, which look a lot like driver's licenses.
"I just love the breed and want to be known for representing the breed," Lizcano said.
"It is so sad that the breed is misunderstood," he added. "At the shows I like to give people a chance to take time out and talk about the breed."
In the '60s, pit bulls were being blamed for most dog attacks, and there was a roundup of pit bulls taken to be euthanized; as a result, many breeders lost their dogs.
World-renowned American Pit Bull Terrier breeder Floyd Boudreaux speaks in the DVD about his heartache from losing his dogs in the '60s.
"I bought my grandson a puppy, and when they came to get all my dogs, they took her, too," he said. "My dogs never did anything to anyone but wag their tails on their way to their deaths."
These breeders from all over the world come together to make sure no one has to ever go through that loss again.
Lizcano received a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Dolce in December and said he enjoys bringing Dunkirk with him to the shows.
"I like to take the city with me so I can show my belief in the city and the breed," he said. "It also helps to educate the young people in the city and encourage them to give the breed a chance; show them they aren't vicious dogs."
Lizcano said if you had one of these dogs, you would not regret it. He said he believes in what the club does for the breed and is glad the dogs get to be champions and seen in a new way.
The ABKC Events webpage has all the forms and information that needs to be filled prior to attending an event.
ABKC has an event coming in January. Peace, Love, Bully Fest III will be held in Allentown, Pa., and is the show Lizcano is planning to attend with his bullies.
Comments on this article may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org