Rescue dogs

Foster homes needed for Pitbulls and intimidating breed rescue dogs as Polk County shelter fills up

The Polk County Bully Project, which rescues Pitbulls and other breeds from bullies, is desperate for foster homes, and finding them quickly could help save lives. Otherwise, the founders said the future could be dire for many dogs.

“Ultimately, they could be euthanized for space,” said Shannon Medina, one of the co-founders.

Many of the dogs that end up at Project Bully come from Polk County Animal Control, which does not directly adopt Pitbulls due to potential liability.

Instead, the county rescues bullies who assess them, work with them, and place them in forever homes. At this time, the Polk County Bully Project is full.

The rescue is caring for 25 dogs and has placed another 50 in foster homes. Its founders fear that if it doesn’t find more homes quickly, it won’t be able to take in any more dogs, which could mean dogs being put down or simply abandoned by their owners.

“When we don’t have a single free spot for a dog here, we have to turn those people away,” said Angie Lorio, the project’s other co-founder. “They’re probably driving down the street and getting the dog out of the car. That’s the hardest thing, saying no.”

Polk’s Pitbull problem isn’t getting better. As the county’s population increases, so does the number of unwanted dogs, including bullies.

The project is asking the county for as many low-cost space/neuter vouchers as possible, which would be used for all breeds. Details are still being worked out.

If you want to encourage a bully, visit