People Helping Paws rescues so-called bully breed dogs

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The dogs that People Helping Paws Dog Rescue help would be killed otherwise, said Stacy Stafford, president and founder of the Jefferson City not-for-profit.

“We pull from kill shelters all over Missouri,” Stafford said.

In operation for 11 years, the dog rescue adopts out around 125 dogs a year, she said.

All adoption costs, including vaccinations, are free. There’s also a pet food pantry, with free pet food.

“We run solely on donations,” Stafford said.

People Helping Paws is one of the charities that applied for donations through the A Community Thrives initiative, a crowdfunding program from Gannett, the Tribune’s parent company.  

Last month, organizations applied to raise money for their projects, first raising money on their own through crowdfunding. Then, they will be eligible for one of 15 national grants of up to $100,000. Projects also are eligible for hundreds of community operating grants starting at $2,500, chosen by leaders from Gannett’s USA Today Network of more than 250 news sites.

Stacy Stafford, right, president of People Helping Paws Dog Rescue, poses for a photo with David Gregg and Jill McDowell, who were foster parents and recently adopted Grace, 9, an American pit bull terrier.

People Helping Paws rescues so-called “bully breeds” of dogs in kill shelters, many with health issues.

Bully breeds include American put bull terriers, mastiffs, great danes and rottweilers. They are often targeted by governments using breed-specific bans or restrictions, making them harder to adopt.

There are no bad dogs, Stafford said.

“There are bad people out there who don’t do right by dogs,” she said.

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