When veterinarian Louise Murray told her husband, a fire department captain, about her concept for a free sterilization program for pit bulls—a "Pit-y Party," with flyers designed as "invitations"—"he and the guys at the station burst out laughing," recalls Murray, who runs the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City. Realizing she'd stumbled across the perfect focus group—tough guys who weren't exactly eager to emasculate their dogs—Murray kept brainstorming. The fellows finally gave her the thumbs-up on the military-themed "Operation Pit" (slogan: "We're looking for a few good dogs"), which includes free vaccinations, plus camo-print bandannas and "honorable discharge" papers for participating dogs (pit bulls account for almost two-thirds of dogs in NYC shelters). One of the firemen even lent his voice to the appointment hotline. In the program's first six months, the hospital spayed, neutered, or provided vasectomies for more than 200 pits: a hundredfold increase over the previous six-month period.
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