Bulldog groups hold 5th annual Central Texas Bully picnic

By BRITTANY FHOLER 
Cove Leader-Press 

The rain cleared just in time for dozens of American Bully breed dogs and their owners to converge on Ogletree Gap Saturday afternoon for the Central Texas Bully Picnic, hosted by Ray Berkitt of Almighty Bullyz. 
The event, which had free food and drinks as well as an inflatable water slide for kids and kiddy pools for the dogs, was held to raise awareness about the breed, which is a cross between the American Bulldog and the Pitbull terrier. While the majority of the dogs at the picnic were American Bullies, there were also some other Pitbull mixes as well as some other bulldog breeds. 
The sponsors of the event, which ran from noon to 7 p.m., included Almighty Bullyz, PBK Bulldogs, A&W Bullies San Antonio, Kanine Loyalty and Bangn Bullies. 
Anne Johnson, of A&W Bullies San Antonio, said that the breed is a docile breed and that the aggressiveness of a Pitbull has been bred out in an American Bully. 
The picnic, which was the 5th event held this year and the third held in Copperas Cove, was meant to show the public how the dogs behave, Johnson said. 
“It’s integration to get people used to these dogs and show them that they’re not aggressive.,” Johnson said. 
Brian Washington, who owns PBK Bulldogs and breed English Bulldogs, said that the event brings a big impact. 
“It even brings people from out of town, so especially for the ones that have been doing breeding for a long time, we get to meet each other and you know, build from that,” Washington said. “This right here gets to bring this in as a community and really push the issue of making the dog scene bigger than what it is around here.”
Johnson said that she estimated nearly 500 people had shown up to the event and added that previous events saw up to 700 people. 
Cassia Herrera, who helped set up the event and seasoned and prepared food the day before, was at the event with her dog, Lady, a black and white American Bully wearing a pink harness and collar. Lady came from Almighty Bullyz, according to Herrera. 
Herrera said that the event was important because too many people underestimate the bully breeds and view them in a negative light.
“I don’t believe in bad dogs, I believe in bad owners,” Herrera said. “I think any dog can be vicious, it doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny tea cup thing or a big Great Dane.”
Herrera added that she believed that it all goes back to how a dog is raised, much like a child. . 
“It just sucks that people see them as vicious aggressive dogs,” Herrera said. “They’re the main breed that nobody will allow in any apartment complex, housing, anywhere. It kind of sucks but eventually I think doing stuff like this where we can bring a large amount of them together, you can actually show that they’re not a vicious breed.”
Tabitha Cortez, whose dog Skylar also came from Almighty Bullyz, shared similar views on the importance of the event. 
The Bully breed faces a lot of discrimination and gets included as a Pitbull type dog, she added. This event helps put a face to the dog and also provides an opportunity for people who love the breed to get together, she said. 

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