As animal lovers, we’re always at our happiest when we see creatures in loving, affectionate homes.
After all, I think we all know that animals are innately good at heart and always want the best for their humans, as we saw with this beautiful mastiff who saved his owner from a bout of suicidal depression.
Unfortunately, we don’t always return the favor, especially when it comes to dogs considered “dangerous,” like pit bulls and bull terriers.
These animals have earned an undeserved bad reputation due to abuse from disreputable humans who improperly breed and train them for violence.
As a result, countless of loving and lovely dogs can’t find homes or are ripped away from the people who care for them are so for no reason other than the bad press around their breed.
The latest victim of pit bull fear-mongering? A sweet and gentle pooch named Darla, and the little girl who loves her. Scroll through below to learn more.
UPDATE: Darla has been reassessed and returned to her family. The Armer family will continue their campaign in Darla’s honor, and will be donating all money raised towards fighting Breed Specific Legislation, and towards helping other beloved family pets return home.
Darla is a beautiful and charming 3-year-old mix. She’s a cross between a Shar Pei and Staffordshire bull terrier.
With her big, goofy grin and many adorable Shar Pei wrinkles, she looks every inch the lovebug.
Unfortunately, the Lancashire Council in England didn’t feel the same way about Darla’s appearance, and three weeks ago, they seized the young dog from her family, the Armers.
Losing Darla has been tough on the whole family, but it’s hardest of all on little Maddison Armer, the 7-year-old who considers Darla her “best friend,” and who literally shut herself in the bathroom with her arms around the dog when the police came to seize her.
The little girl, the eldest of the five Armer siblings, has autism and ADHD. Sweet and gentle Darla is able to get through to her when no one else can.
Maddison’s mother Jenny even told The Telegraph, “Darla is her best friend and she has a connection with her that she has with no one else. She’s helped her through so much.”
Now, Maddison is at the forefront of her family’s campaign to get Darla back after the dog was seized by the police.
Her crime wasn’t nipping or growling or any other kind of aggressive behavior. Darla was reported to the authorities by an anonymous neighbor who suspected that the dog was a pit bull.
England has a parliamentary law called the Dangerous Dogs Act that bans four types of dogs, including the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro.
Darla, because of her Staffordshire heritage, has leg and jaw measurements that are similar to other bull terriers.
However, like so many dogs with bull terrier heritage, Darla is not a ferocious fighting dog just because she has the muscles and jaw power of a dog bred for hunting, herding, and fighting.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. As Jenny Armer told The Lancaster Guardian, “Darla is scared of birds, and she is the most friendly dog ever.”
By all reports, Darla is nothing but a big lovebug and a little bit of scaredy-dog.
We can’t imagine how worried this sweet-tempered dog must be, kept in the pound and separated from her little Maddison since she was seized on July 16, 2016.
Unfortunately, she’s stuck for now because it’s up to the family to prove that Darla is as loving and gentle as they claim.
Darla, pictured here as a wrinkly little puppy, has already been determined to fit the “pit bull” criteria assigned by the Lancashire Council.
However, there is still hope. According to the Dangerous Dogs Act, “However, even if you have an unregistered pit bull terrier-type dog, you have a reasonable chance of avoiding a destruction order being made. You must prove to a court that your dog is not a danger to public safety in proceedings brought against you.”
In other words, the Armers have to prove that Darla is good girl, or she will be put to sleep.
With that goal in mind, the Armers are trying to rally as much support as possible for their pooch.
They will need the equivalent of nearly $7,000 in order to fight for Darla in court. In order to get their beloved dog back, they not only need to pay for court proceedings, but if successful, will have to pay fines and fees associated with the special permissions for owning a dog determined to be a “pit bull-type.”
Meanwhile, they are also doing all that they can to amend the breed-specific legislation that caused their nightmare in the first place, and that has no doubt affected many other families and beloved pets.
Please consider signing their Change.org petition to amend the legislation that allowed their beloved Darla to be seized right out of little Maddison’s arms.
If you’d like to contribute to their legal battle to save Darla’s life, you can donate at their JustGiving page, and get updates on their ongoing story at the HELP Get Darla Home! Facebook page.
If you want to see Darla and Maddison reunited, please SHARE this story and spread the word to any dog lovers you know!