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Pit Bull Palace

Staff and volunteers transform a rented warehouse into a place of healing for hundreds of abused animals

Julie Brinker keeps a few mementos to remind her of some of the special animals she has worked with as staff veterinarian at the Humane Society of Missouri.

There’s a picture of Daisy, a dog she nursed back to health from repeated bouts of illness, who was later adopted. A photo of two puppies asleep in a water bowl. An ID tag from Handsome, a big, yellow pit bull who was too aggressive to be placed.

And another tag, stamped “153”—representing all the puppies born during a span of time at the shelter, who would never have to experience dogfighting.

“That’s on my keychain,” she says.

Brinker met and cared for each of these animals over a period of seven months, when the Humane Society of Missouri took on a task far greater than its usual already-full plate of running three animal shelters. From July 2009 until February 2010, the organization ran a temporary shelter for 407 pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes—and 153 puppies born after the dogs’ arrival.

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