Celebrity and Honorary Members
Stevie was an old soulful gentle soul. He assisted Jason Borden in rehabilitating dogs. When both Jason and Stevie were homeless they found each other and an eternal bond occurred. He delighted folks at our MCABSL events. A true and inspiring Pit Bull. R.I.P. Stevie “RoughNeck’s Razors Edge “Damian” Lobo was a Pit Bull. He was one of the first to grace the MCABSL Kissing Booth. He brought education and awareness far and wide, as he traveled with MCABSL. He showed the world the true colorings of his breed. A compassionate and soulful fellow…He passed recently in his Fathers (Steve) arms. He is truly missed but forever remembered.” www.RoughNeckBullies.com
Victoria Stillwell: Honorary Member
“She was born and raised in Wimbledon, England and is one of the world’s most recognized and respected dog trainers. She is best known for her role as the star of Animal Planet’s hit TV series, “It’s Me or the Dog”. She is a passionate advocate for positive reinforcement training methods. She has two best selling books to her credits, “It’s Me or the Dog: How to Have the Perfect Pet” and ” Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet”. She launched Victoria Stillwell Positively Dog Training, the world’s first global network of dog trainers. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, daughter, Chocolate Lab Sadie and Chi mix Jasmine. Her fight against BSL reached global proportions when she fought to save Lennox’s life in Belfast. She supports and stands with MCABSL in the fight to remove the Miami Dade County Pit Bull Ban and abolish BSL
Chris Nunez: Celebrity Member & Tattoo Artist
Chris Nunez is an American Icon Tattoo Artist and a TV personality, of Cuban origin. He was on the reality program, “Miami Ink” and presently on “Ink Master”. He has great love and dedication towards animals, specifically the Pit Bull Breed. He has joined forces with MCABSL to end BSL!
Bully the Kid: Honorary Member
Christopher “Bully The Kid” Bennet. He is the premier talk radio host on Bully World Radio, with more than 1 million listeners. His show, “The Bully Booth”, has helped bring the American Bully to the mainstream public. He is also a writer for Atomic Dog Magazine. He grew up as a military brat and loved dogs since he was knee high. He was an Animal Cruelty Inspector for the State of Georgia. He has an incredible ability to reach the inner city youth and bring the message of responsible dog ownership. He presently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He has been a loyal supporter and a strong voice for the MCABSL. He has taken the vow with us… to fight BSL!
TwinSoul: Celebrity Members & Recording Artist
International recording artists percussionist twin sisters Yvonne & Lisa from Puerto Rico, give life to: “TwinSoul”. TwinSoul started mixing sounds using percussion instruments like congas, bongos, timbales and bells, creating an exciting lively musical environment. To the beat of percussion Twin Soul found a unique formula to mix beats to any style of music from tribal to progressive house Latin house and lounge. TwinSoul started their musical career as singers taking them to produce their own music production their latest cd “Ojala”, mixes a Caribbean flavor, where the percussion plays a unique and exquisite role in the entire production. TwinSoul has been playing in numerous cities like New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Miami, and toured thru South America, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Twin Soul was part of the very well acclaimed special from HBO Latino “HABLA” TwinSoul has a habit of bringing the house down with pure adrenaline. Energy, talent, sensuality and passion on stage make TwinSoul a show not to be missed. They are also passionate animal lovers and have joined MCABSL in the fight against BSL.
Lisa M. Marrero A.K.A. Lisa M: Celebrity Member, “Reina Del Ritmo” DJ/Remixer, Singer & Producer
Originally from San Juan, P.R. For more than 20 years she has been the Queen of Rhythm. Performing worldwide: Miami, P.R., N.Y., Spain, Las Vegas, South America, Dominican Republic…. Her DJ musical style ranges from tribal, lounge, techno, progressive and house. As a producer, she has produced 11 albums with Sony Records. She has collaborated musically with Ricky Martin and La India. She won a Grammy in 1991 and has Gold and Platinum records to her credits. Her recent hit “Hey Ladies” was in Jennifer Lopez’s film, “Feel The Noise”. She recently resides in Barcelona, Spain. She is an ardent supporter of the Pit Bull Breed and MCABSL! She believes all dogs were created equal.
K-Lethal: Celebrity Member & Recording Artist
K lethal is a rap artist from the streets of Newark, NJ whose work has been featured on DJ Exclusive, DJ Baby Boy (Vibe Ride College Tour), and DJ Lazy K (Forever Hungry Vol. 1) mixtapes. K has been a member of the UAA from its inception and is a tireless and dedicated advocate of animal rights. “There’s a whole lot of negativity and hopelessness in the ghetto” says K. “But if you can learn to take a positive out of every negative, and build from there, anything can be accomplished.” Be sure to check out K on “Stop Fighting The Dogs”! on The Urban Animal Alliance
Laura Allen, ESQ: Legislative Analyst for MCABSL and Director of “Animal Law Coalition”
Laura Allen, Esq. is the founder and executive director of Animal Law Coalition, which advocates for the rights of animals to live and live free of cruelty and neglect. Laura Allen is a trial attorney with more than 20 years of experience trying cases and arguing appeals in the state and federal courts in Washington, Illinois, Missouri and Arizona. She is a member of the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. Several years ago, when she and her husband adopted a dog from the local shelter, they had no idea how he would change their lives. Thanks to their beloved dog, Luke, she became involved in animal welfare. Laura first worked as an attorney for Best Friends Animal Society, helping establish programs to stop breed bans and puppy mills. Laura then founded Animal Law Coalition. As she explains, “Like many of you, I could see the suffering that goes on every day in shelters, breeding facilities, factory farms, slaughter houses, animal “parks” or exhibits, circuses, animal research facilities, and homes where there is abuse or neglect. I could see the policies of the federal as well as state and local governments were more focused on expedience, cost and convenience when it comes to animals than their humane care and treatment, their right to live. Government policies are more focused on development than restoration of wildlife habitat and conservation of the animals in the wild. “I could also see the public has little awareness of the suffering or of government policies towards animals.” Animal Law Coalition hopes to change that. Through analysis of the legal issues that affect animals, ALC strives to inform and engage the public in the fight to stop animal cruelty. Animal Law Coalition funds litigation and lobbying efforts to affect government laws and policies to stop the abuse and suffering. In particular, Animal Law Coalition has a program working with local officials and drafting legislation to avoid breed bans. Animal Law Coalition has successfully convinced communities to avoid breed bans by working with local officials to draft legislation that does not discriminate based on breed but promotes dog safety. Laura is a frequent speaker and a regular guest on Animals Today Radio and Wild For Life Endangered Talk Radio. She is an advisor to Our Stubby Dog Heroes, a project to restore the image of the pit bull dog and also serves on the advisory board of Saving America’s Horses and WFLF Wild Capture Awareness. She works with Compassionate Animal TV and Animal Advocate Television.
Karen Delise: Honorary Member and Author of Fatal Dog Attacks: The Story Behind the Statistics & The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression
More than twenty years of research and investigation have led to Ms. Delise being considered the nation’s leading expert on dog bite-related fatalities. Ms. Delise has authored two books: Fatal Dog Attacks: The Stories Behind the Statistics and The Pit Bull Placebo: The Media, Myths and Politics of Canine Aggression.
Ms. Delise retired from the Suffolk County, NY Sheriff’s Office after twenty-nine years of service. She earned a degree in Veterinary Science Technology and is a licensed veterinary technician. Ms. Delise has worked for the East End Small Animal Emergency Hospital, the Long Island Game Farm, and the New York State Marine Mammal Rescue Program. She also volunteered, for seven years, in the Bide-A-Wee Pet Therapy Program.
Vanessa Brito: Honorary Member and Director of MYami Marketing
Vanessa Brito, Director of MYami Marketing, has her B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from Florida International University. During her five year tenure with the FIU Metropolitan Center, she served as the FIU Project Manager for the Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization quarterly and annual newsletters as well their Citizen’s Guide to Transportation. Ms. Brito has also served as the Project Manager for the 2006, 2007, and 2008 City of Miami EITC Outreach Campaigns, the 2006 Broward County Exit Poll on Hispanic Voter Accessibility, the 2006 Transportation Survey for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s 2006 Transportation Summit, the 2007 Miami-Dade Expressway Authority Market Analysis, and the 2008 Education Compact for the City of Miami Gardens and the Miami-Dade County School Board.
Vanessa is responsible for designing methodology and managing public opinion surveys and all market research projects undertaken by MYami Marketing Inc. Vanessa currently serves as a Board Member on the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Task Force, the Miami-Dade County Equal Opportunity Board, and the Strong Families Committee of the Miami Gardens Junior Chamber of Commerce. In addition, she is a contributing writer to Miami.com and Miami.com en Español as well as AMBIENTE Magazine, committee member to SAVE Dade Foundation’s Communications and Marketing Committee, and a Federal Club member of the Human Rights Campaign, host committee member of the “Black Crossroads” at the Historical Museum of South Florida, and advisory board member to the Latin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
In addition, through MYami Marketing, Vanessa Brito managed the campaign of Miriam “Mimi” Planas, candidate for Miami-Dade County Commission District 10 and consults on State and Congressional campaigns for the 2010 cycle such as Michael Bileca, Lisa Lesperance, Katie Edwards, and Scott Galvin. She has served as a consultant for the Republican Party of Florida and was the lead data manager for the “YES to Recall Mayor Carlos Alvarez” led by auto dealer owner Norman Braman. Vanessa integrated Miami Voice PAC, which led the effort to successfully recall 18-year veteran Commissioner Natacha Seijas. Miami Voice PAC led a campaign that won with nearly 88% of the vote. Vanessa is a true animal lover and was present during the Distemper outbreak/crisis at MDAS. She has attended the NKN Seminars. She is against BSL and has joined MCABSL in the fight.
Lissette: Honorary Member & Animal Advocate
Was born to Cuban parents – the popular musical duo Olga y Tony – during one of their tours to Peru. At five years of age she recorded her first single alongside her parents. In the early sixties she abandoned Cuba through the humanitarian program Peter Pan. This program rescued and relocated 14,000 Cuban children to the United States. Began her recording career in Puerto Rico where she quickly gained national prominence. At the same time she began to host her own television shows: Discoteca Pepsi, El Show de Lissette, and El Show Ford, among others. Won first place with the song Sin Dios no hubiera nada in the 1968 Latin American Song Festival in Miami. In 1977 won at the OTI Festival in Spain with her composition Si hay amor… volverá. Has had a total of 42 LPs and CDs issued to date. Has been the recipient of 12 Gold Records. Her long list of hits include: Salvaje, Lo voy a dividir, Eva, Mal sueño, Falsedad, Palabras, palabras, Quiéreme, Vivo, Justo yo, Yo me voy sola, Amor de luna, Apaga la luz, Descártame, Si un día te sientes solo, Maniquí, Eclipse total del amor, A veces, Fuego, Luna llena, Cómo decirte, Fuga, Poema 20, Máquina, Martes, 2 de la tarde, Caricatura and Copacabana. Has acted in soap operas and films, including Winter Kills with Jeff Bridges and Anthony Perkins, in which she wrote the song she sang in the film. Has filmed a myriad of television specials, among them Lissette y medio, winner of the Bronze Award at the New York Film Festival, and Salvaje, winner of Puerto Rico’s Cemi Award. Her specials in English for American television, Lissette and Friends (ABC) with Melissa Manchester and Liz Torres, and Ladies and Gentlemen: Lissette! with Michel Legrand and Henny Youngman (CBS), were ratings successes and winners of eleven Emmys, among other awards. Her unmistakable voice has been heard in concert in the most famous theaters in the United States such as Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York; the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts, the James L. Knight Center, Miami-Dade County Auditorium and the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Miami; as well as the Centro de Bellas Artes in Puerto Rico, where both critics and audiences have always received her with praise and warmth. Has played the most elegant and well-renowned nightclubs and showrooms such as El Club Caribe at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan, El Tropicoro at the Hotel San Juan in Puerto Rico, the Tropigala at the Fontainebleau Hilton in Miami, the Trop World Casino in Atlantic City, and Michelangelo’s in Buenos Aires, Argentina, among many others. Starred in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Song and Dance at Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse in 2000. Regresaré, in 2001, marked her triumphant return to the concert stage and the subsequent tour filled various venues to capacity. The concert was recorded at the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and was released as a double CD by Latinum Music under the title of Lissette Live! As songwriter, she has written, produced and published over 100 compositions.
Willy is recognized throughout the world as the creator of the Miami Sound, a unique fusion of Cuban music, rock, jazz, Brazilian and Caribbean rhythms. Has won a GRAMMY® Award in 2006 for Best Salsa/Merengue Album for Son del Alma,as nominated in 2007 for a Latin GRAMMY® for Best Salsa Album for 35 Aniversario – En Vivo. …has released more than 30 albums and is the composer of over one hundred songs which have been recorded by over sixty artists including Celia Cruz, Raphael, Gipsy Kings, Lissette, Dyango, David Bisbal and Oscar D’Leon. …has earned Platinum records for Oxígeno (1991) and Acuarelas del Caribe (1990), and Gold Records for Zarabanda (1985), South Beach (1993), Asere (1995), and Afro-disiac (2000). …has produced albums for Rocío Jurado, Raphael, Oscar D’Leon, Celia Cruz, Magneto and dozens of other international artists. …was born in Consolación del Sur, a small town in western Cuba, in the province of Pinar del Río. …began his love for art as a portrait artist, winning various awards in fine arts as a child. …as a child, listened to the music of Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Little Richard, Elvis Presley and The Beatles, of which he considers himself to be a connoisseur …left Cuba at 14 years of age through Operation Pedro Pan, an initiative started by the Catholic Church through which thousands of children immigrated to the United States. …has never accepted his departure as definite and, to this day, feels his return is imminent. “I believe that my calling is to be an artist and not a politician, I don’t mix the two and feel uncomfortable in doing so”. …launched his own music label, Latinum Music Inc., in 1997, after being signed by CBS and later Sony Music. …has written several songs that have become emblematic for the Cuban people, but none more so than Nuestro Día (Ya Viene Llegando) which has become a second national anthem for his compatriots outside and inside the captive island. …was awarded the United States Legion of Honor in 1976 for his humanitarian work. He was also recognized by UNICEF for his work with the Willy Chirino Foundation in 1996 as well as the Billboard Humanitarian Award, and received the Hispanic Heritage Award from the United States Department of State. …received a star on the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame and was named the King of the annual Calle Ocho Carnival in 1993. …holds the honor of having two streets named after him, one in Miami-Dade and the other in Hialeah, Florida. He also has received honorary keys to various international cities where he has performed. In 2003, he received an Honorary Doctorate Honoris Causa degree from St. Thomas University. …launched a worldwide tour in 2009 to promote his album Pa’lante which included the mega-hits Los Campeones de la Salsa, and the title song. The tour took him to Europe, Central and South America, and most major cities in the United States, culminating in a sold-out concert at the American Airlines Arena in his hometown, Miami. …was among the handful of international stars to record the Hispanic rendition of We Are the World to raise funds for the earthquake victims in Haiti in 2010. …has been married to international recording artist Lissette for over thirty years and has five children: Angie, Olga María, Jessica, Nicolle, Alana and Gianfranco. …recognizes that “If there is something an artist should not do is stop dreaming.”
Jade Soto: Honorary Member & Animal Advocate
Jade Soto has had a passion for helping animals since she was just a child. Jade’s diverse history and passion for progress have allowed her to become a strong advocate in the fight against Breed Specific Legislation and other animal welfare campaigns. She is a member of the ASPCA, and has volunteered at animal shelters and rescue facilities throughout Florida. Her greatest fulfillment has come from the work she has dedicated to helping both animals and the youth. Jade began volunteering at events with the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation. She later designed the organization’s original website from scratch; volunteering many hours to helping MCABSL gain credibility on the web. She previously served as a Board Member and as the Secretary for the organization. Jade is proud to be a part of the fight against BSL and continues to form a powerful foundation in helping animals and influencing change in her community.
Marcy LaHart, ESQ: Honorary Member
Marcy LaHart, Esq. is a solo practitioner residing in Gainesville, FL. Her state wide practice focuses on animal law and public interest environmental law. She represents private citizens and not-for-profit environmental and animal welfare organizations in a variety of matters in state and federal courts and before the Division of Administrative Hearings. Marcy is the recipient of an Animal Hero Award from Stand Up For Animals, and had been named a Public Interest Advocate of the Year by the Environmental and Land Use Law Section of the Florida Bar. She includes among her most satisfying victories having succeeded in getting two dangerous dog ordinances declared unconstitutional, resulting in both dogs being reunited with their guardians rather than being destroyed. Marcy holds a J.D. and certificates in Ocean & Coastal Law and Natural Resource Law from the University of Oregon and a B.S. from the University of Florida. She is a member of the Florida Bar, the United States Court of Appeals, and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Buzz Miller, ESQ: Honorary Member and Founder of “Buzzy’s Bow Wow Meow”
Buzz Miller conducted a successful law/business practice for 35 years specializing in business, real estate, venture capital and tax matters, with a continual AV rating by Martindale Hubbell. After leaving that world, Buzz was able to devote himself fulltime to his true passion of helping companion animals. He opened Buzzy’s Bow Wow Meow (BBWM), a Companion Animal Education Center, in 2007. BBWM is also a unique 7,000 square ft. pet supermarket selling natural, holistic and organic foods and supplies for companion animals. Buzz has been involved for many years in putting an end to puppy mills, advocating for pit bulls and against breed specific legislation, adoptions of companion animals and furthering the human-animal bond. He formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entitled PACT, People/Animals = Companions Together, to educate the general public on many animal issues, such as why No Kill should be established, why Breed Specific Legislation does not work, why Puppy Mills should be abolished, why we should spay & neuter and strongly advocating the benefits of the human-animal bond, to name a few. Buzz continues to promote change within the animal world.
Ernie Sims, Jr: Honorary Member & NFL Football Player
Off the field, Ernie Sims has accomplished a great deal when it comes to reaching youth and aiding animals. As the founder and president of Big HITS Foundation, Ernie has created a comprehensive organization that has addressed many community needs in his home town. His passions have been noted by the City of Tallahassee and local media. On the field, he is one of the leagues best young linebackers, bringing speed, talent and intensity to the Philadelphia Eagles linebacker corporation. In 2008, Sims played and started in all 16 games with the Detroit Lines and finished second on the team with 140 (90 solo) tackles according to the coaches film review. He was introduced as the team’s starter at the weak-side linebacker spot to begin 2006 and has started all 48 games in his first three seasons. Starting all 16 games in 2006, he was one of the top defensive rookies in the league and was named to the Pro Football Weekly/Pro Football Writers Association all-rookie team. The Lions selected Sims with their first-round pick (9th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft. Ernie has currently been drafted into the Philadelphia Eagles as of mid year 2010. Ernie is also a proud member of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, and hopes to aid them in their fight against BSL.
Dr. Marc H. Kramer, DVM: Honorary Member
Dr. Marc H. Kramer is a Veterinarian of all creatures, with a specialization in the care of birds and exotic pets. Originally a New Yorker, he graduated from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999 and moved to Miami in 2000. He has written several veterinary articles on birds, reptiles, and exotic companion mammals, and has lectured internationally on exotic pet topics. Complementing his veterinary experience, Dr. Kramer has worked extensively in the field studying Avian Ecology in remote corners of the world. He is fluent in the identification and natural history of hundreds of species of birds. On his days off, you might find him bird watching deep in the Florida Everglades, where he enjoys viewing wildlife from his kayak. Beyond the animal realm, Dr. Kramer has several outside interests, including geocaching, hiking, and traveling. Since moving to Miami, he has come to appreciate the local Latin culture, and you can often find him dancing Salsa and eating Latin food! He has taken a special interest in the breed-specific legislation issue, and is eager to aid MCABSL in their goals. While working with clients and their pets, Dr. Kramer is practical, realistic, and compassionate. He is described as reliable, flexible, and patient, with a good rapport with co-workers and clients. Throughout his veterinary career, he has maintained a position on the forefront of veterinary medicine, staying well informed of the rapid advances in exotic pet medicine. He is well prepared to serve South Florida and its plethora of both traditional and non-traditional pets.
Eliana Ardila: Honorary Member & Chief Veterinary Technician
Eliana Ardila is an enthusiastic and passionate advocate for improving the lives of animals. She is a firm believer in equal treatment for all dogs regardless of their breed. Much of her free time is dedicated campaigning for the rights of pets, farm animals, and wild creatures alike. Her working days are spent as Chief Veterinary Technician on the “Meow Mobile”, a mobile veterinary clinic developed for intensive spay and neuter efforts for cats in Miami-Dade County. One word that perhaps best describes Eliana is “green.” It’s not only her favorite color, but she has a zealousness for environmental awareness. Her eco-conscious spirit is reflected in everything that she does, from her appreciation of nature to recycling to vegetarianism. She also enjoys getting creative with art projects, traveling, and hiking. She is extremely caring, reliable, and puts her all into every one of her endeavors.
Miriam “MiMi” Planas: Honorary Member
Miriam “Mimi” Planas was born on March 24, 1967, at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida to Cuban exiled parents, Caridad and Roque Planas. Aside from her goal to become District 10 Commissioner, she is also a proud mother to her two year old son, Aidan Roque Planas. Mimi has been deeply and happily rooted within the District 10 community for over thirty years. This community, especially the Cuban and Cuban American community, is very special to Miami. She loves her Cuban roots and feels the pain that her mother felt having lost her country to tyranny. The Cuban community has made Westchester and Miami what it is today, a diverse community of culture, flavor and music. Mimi is proud to be a part of that history and a part of a new era to come. Mimi has taken a stand alongside the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation to help overturn Breed Specific Legislation in Miami Dade County and to help focus more on the broken dangerous dog ordinance currently implemented. Mimi Planas continues to serve her community and actively aids individuals struggling with addiction as they face the process of rehabilitation. She hopes to continue taking the voice of the people to the heart of the county.
Grace Acosta: Honorary Member, President and Founder of “Gulfstream Guardian Angels Rottweiler Rescue”
In her childhood in Havana, Cuba, Grace picked up strays and brought them home. She moved to Miami, Florida in 1962 with her family and her three mixed breed dogs! She never owned a purebred dog until 1980. Grace Acosta got her first pet Rottweiler in 1980. In 1983 she bought her first show prospect pup and began exhibiting in 1984. Rottweilers have been her life hobby since then. She has bred many American Kennel Club (AKC) champions, including Rottweiler male that won Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club show, Madison Square Garden, NY. She also owned the number one Rottweiler bitch, All Systems, in 1993. Again winning Best of Opposite Sex at Westminster. She believes a breeder is responsible for every puppy bred. She says that good dog ownership responsibility begins with the breeder, not the owner. She is now an AKC judge of Rottweiler’s, Dobermans, Great Danes, Bullmastiffs and Junior Showmanship. She judged the American Rottweiler Club National Specialty in 2008 in Minnesota, and also the Medallion Rottweiler Club Specialty in Chicago. She has also judged in Mexico, Argentina and Trinidad Tobago. In 2005 she judged the IFR in Valencia, Spain. Grace’s love for the Rottweiler became evident in her rescue work. She is the founder and President of Gulfstream Guardian Angels Rottweiler Rescue, a 501c3 organization. Through her work many Rottweiler’s are saved and placed in good homes. She invites everyone to visit the rescue web page at http://www.ggarr.org. Grace is a founding member and present President of Gulfstream Rottweiler Club of Greater Miami, Inc. She was show chair of the 2002 and 2007 American Rottweiler Club National Specialties in Florida. A former President of Greater Miami Dog Club and South Dade Kennel Club, she has organized and chaired many dog shows in Miami Dade, Florida. Grace Acosta has recently moved to Alachua, Florida and continues her rescue work from there. She is an active Member of MCABSL and fights Breed Specific Legislation. Her motto is IF YOU DON’T RESCUE, DON’T BREED.
Isis Garcia-Martinez: Honorary Member
Councilwoman Isis Garcia-Martinez was born in Havana Cuba on May 18, 1967, like many Cubans at the time her parents fled the island due to the Castro regime. She left Cuba at the mere age of 11 1/2 months old. She went on to live in Spain and New York City before arriving at the great City of Hialeah in 1969. She was raised by her mother Hilda Sanz, a single parent and architectural graduate from Havana who as many Cubans, gave up her career to work in a factory in search of the “American Dream.” Isis grew up in the City of Hialeah and went to school at the well known and respected Edison Private School. She attended Hialeah Senior High School and is a graduate of Miami Springs Senior High. she also attended Miami Dade College and Barry University. Councilwoman Garcia-Martinez dedicated her years in and out of office to the Senior Community, Early Education and Healthcare. She has worked in the healthcare field for over twenty years where she has been an advocate for community programs geared towards Healthcare and Senior Citizens. She has worked in several hospitals throughout the years, such as South Miami Hospital and Hialeah Hospital, and she is well known for her many years of service and dedication to Palm Springs General Hospital, where she specialized in outreach and marketing. Isis was appointed by former Miami Dade County Mayor, Alex Penelas to the Miami Dade County Health Task Force. She is also a motivational speaker addressing children and special programs in our local schools.
“As a member of this organization taking on Miami Dade County against the BSL legislation, I am proud of the work the team has done and of their triumphs in court. I’m sorry this did not happen earlier in order for us to have prevented the loss of so many animals and the sorrow their owners felt in losing their beloved pets. I look forward to future battles in order to prevent any further deaths!” – Isis G. Martinez.
Sharon Athanasiou: Honorary Member and Vice President of Pitbullshirt.com, Vice President of Tommy Pop Art and Owner of Snuggle N’ Luv Petsitting & Dogwalking
Sharon Athanasiou was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and is the Vice President of Pitbullshirt.com (a fundraising T-shirt company that specializes in depicting bullies in a positive manner and raising money for pitbull rescues and advocacy organizations) and Tommy Pop Art ( pop-art-style hand-painted portraits of dogs and cats inspired by Smokey the pitbull). She has been volunteering for Coastal Poodle Rescue for many years,as one of their Broward County representatives. She also owns Snuggle N’ Luv Petsitting & Dogwalking, and wakes up each and every morning so grateful to spend time with all of her wonderful animal “clients”. Additionally, Sharon is known to become ridiculously giddy and excited when she gets a new bully breed client and has earned a reputation as the local “go-to girl” regarding anything pitbull! Based on her many wonderful personal experiences with pitbulls, Sharon jumps at every opportunity imaginable to advocate for these dogs and talks about why she adores them to any one who will listen and especially to those, who due to ignorance, may prefer not to. At home Sharon has three senior companions: Fluffernutter the Toy Poodle, Vanillabean the Maltese and Junior the Himalayan Kitty. She also has a non-senior companion, her husband Tommy, who is the artist behind all the Pitbullshirt.com T-shirt designs and all the art for Tommy Pop Art.
Mario Chiozza is a member of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation and the proud owner and trainer of an American Pit Bull Terrier named Rocky. After being rescued by a local group, Mario met Rocky and fell in love. It was then that he decided to adopt Rocky. Rocky and only one of his brothers, were the only ones who lived after their mother had died. Rocky was only three weeks old at the time that he lost his mother. He was bottle-fed formula before graduation into eating mush. He eventually began eating real food. Rocky was so full of life right from the start and his own personality and zest for life, which was so apparent at three weeks, has continued to grow right along with him. Since he was a puppy, Rocky has attended obedience class. The day Mario saw Rocky climbing straight up a wall of railroad ties, he knew that agility would be his true calling! Rocky and Mario truly love agility and enjoy traveling together to trials. They are always the stars at every event and Rocky gets along with everyone. Rocky runs USDAA and NADAC, and they hope to start running some CPE. Rocky has earned P1 Jumpers and Gamblers titles in USDAA and is one Q away from his Jumper’s title. He is also close to earning another. Mario and Rocky have become a successful team together and continue competing in agility competitions. Together they are set to change the perception of the American Pit Bull Terrier breed and to show just how wonderful they are.
Chocolate: Honorary Four Legged Member
Chocolate was picked up as a stray in a run-down neighborhood within Miami Dade County. From the very moment she was found, she jumped into now owner, Dahlia Canes’ car and heart. She had just given birth, had scars all over her body, along with fleas and ticks, and was as skinny as a rail. She was taken to a veterinarian immediately, where she was slowly nursed back to health. At the time, Dahlia was not aware of the Pit Bull Ban within Miami Dade County, nor was she familiar with Breed Specific Legislation. She kept Chocolate and made her part of the family. While away on a trip, Chocolate stayed at a friends home on South Beach. It was then that Dahlia was introduced to BSL. Dahlia came home to find out that Chocolate had been confiscated and taken to Miami Dade Animal Services. Furthermore, Dahlia’s friend was taken into custody for resisting arrest. By nothing short of a miracle, Dahlia was able to get her friend out of jail and was allowed to retrieve Chocolate. She quickly placed her at a friends home in Palm Beach, Florida. Today, Chocolate is fifteen years old and is at an un-disclosed location. She is the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation’s ‘mascot’ and has attended several events thrown by the organization. Her image is displayed on some of the groups T-Shirts and she continues to serve as an example for the Pit Bull breed. Chocolate participated in a live show held by Cesar Millan at the Carnival Center in Miami, Florida. Chocolate was asked to come on stage and shared the spotlight with Cesar. She was also mentioned in an article written in the Palm Beach Post. Her life tells the story of a neglected stray who has touched the hearts of so many and taught us all the beauty that lies behind this loving breed.Chocolate passed away at 15 1/2 in Dahlia Canes arms. She attended many events and was an ambassador for her breed. She remains MCABSL’s mascot.
Ruby: Honorary Four Legged Member and Outstanding Service Dog
Ruby was found in September of 2003, along with her brother, in an abandoned house. She was starving and neglected. Ruby spent three weeks in intensive care at a local hospital. While she was fortunate enough to receive treatment, her brothers fate is unknown. Ruby was 5-6 months old when she was rescued by her now owner, Pat Bettendorf. Pat was asked to foster her just over the Thanksgiving weekend, but it wasn’t long before he fell in love with her. Throughout the years, Ruby has been acknowledged for her many merits, including a certification from Therapy Dog International (TDI) in November of 2005. A year later, she was nominated for and honored in the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association Animal Hall of Fame. In 2007, Ruby was officially inducted into the Companion category of the Hall of Fame, at a ceremony where hundreds of Minnesota Veterinarians were present. Ruby has been a guest a various animal shelter fundraisers, has visited schools to teach children about dog safety, and has even done bomb and drug detection work. Her biggest accomplishment has been her role as a therapy and service dog. She has brought happiness to the hearts of the disabled and the elderly at many hospitals and nursing homes. Ruby made a special appearance on the Bonnie Hunt Show and participated in the “Milk-Bone” make a moment contest where she has appeared on Milk-Bone dog treat boxes all around the world. In 2009, Ruby was diagnosed with Cancer and has undergone extensive surgery and treatments to aid in her recovery. She is currently happy and healthy, and continues to serve as a testimony to the world of how truly brilliant and loving the American Pit Bull breed is. MCABSL is honored to have Pat and Ruby as honorary members of our organization.
Daddy Honorary: Four Legged Member and World Wide Pit Ambassador
Many people don’t know that Daddy originally belonged to rapper Redman. When the pit bull was four months old, Redman didn’t feel he could care for it properly in his environment. He sought a trainer and, through a referral, found Cesar. Daddy has been with the Milan family ever since! Daddy is Cesar’s first right-hand dog. Since Cesar raised him from four months of age, Daddy is used to being around dogs of all sizes. This exposure and his natural balanced energy makes him a perfect candidate for rehabilitating other dogs, particularly those with dog-aggressive issues. Daddy doesn’t react unless he is given a command to react, and his calm-submissive energy is contagious. One of Daddy’s remarkable traits is his high tolerance for smaller dogs. He allows them to do whatever they want to him. Italian greyhounds Lita and Rex like to climb on top of Daddy, often curling around his body to go to sleep. Daddy is also a keen observer of emotion. If a family member is having a rough day or feeling sad, Daddy immediately picks up on it. He’ll lay at your feet and wait for a belly rub or a pat on the back. On February 19, 2010, at the age of sixteen, Daddy passed away. He was surrounded by Cesar and the entire Milan family. He lived each day of those sixteen years helping to shape the behavior of so many dogs and setting an example for Pit Bulls all over the nation. He will remain in the hearts of so many. We’ll miss you Daddy!
Dolly: Honorary Four Legged Member, Bait Dog Survivor and AKC certified Canine Good Citizen
Dolly was adopted from the shelter where her current owner, Erica Daniel, works at in Central Florida in June of 2009. Since they are a government run shelter, they are unable to do home checks, back ground checks or anything of the sort (which is very unfortunate!) In March of 2010 she walked back into the shelter covered in mud and blood, her face had been ripped to shreds. It was evident the man had been using her as a bait dog since she doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. Some of her teeth have been knocked/ripped out and she was unable to eat when she entered the shelter. We had to feed her wet food and place it in her mouth for her so she could just swallow it. She was on medication for about a month before her Erica decided that her own life would not be able to continue w/out this dog! Ms. Daniel brought her home and the rest is history. She dedicated her life to changing Dolly’s. She is an AKC certified Canine Good Citizen and has also passed tests to become a therapy dog which we will be starting very soon. Every weekend they take her to lunch and tell everyone her story (including the people that cross the street to avoid her!) She lives w/3 other dogs including a dachshund mix, boxer/pit mix, and a black mouth cur. She’s amazing, she’s Erica’s everything, she has changed her life!
Ice Pop: Honorary Four Legged Member and Outstanding Therapy Dog
Cathy, her owner, intercepted Ice Pop on her way into the pound. She was approximately 5 months old. She passed her CGC and Therapy dog test with perfect scores at just 1 yr old.Since then she has worked in hospitals,Alzheimer facilities, the Cerebral Palsy school, an adult day care center, and the N.J. Family Assistance Center after 9/11, she even made a few house visits. Together Cathy and Ice Pop have fostered over 300 puppies and they all sit on Ice Pop and follow her around. She has been an outstanding foster Mom. She has raised over $10,000.00 for charities giving $1.00 kisses. She is presently in the N.J. Veterinary Hall of Fame. R.I.P 08/15/2012.
Crystal Jimenez: Member & Founder of “Pit Bulls Pounding the Pavement”
Crystal Jimenez is the proud owner of three beautiful American Pit Bull Terriers. Shaft is a nine year old male brindle mix, Brutus is a six year old male red nose and Ninnie is a three year old female, chocolate red nose. Crystal has been around Pit Bulls her entire life. She was raised around them from the time she was a very young child as Pit Bulls were her family’s breed of choice. Crystal has been involved in the Pit Bull community for the past nine years and has grown to truly love and admire the breed. She has found that they are the most loving and patient breed anyone can own. Crystal has volunteered within the community in both the rescue aspect and as an animal advocate as well. She volunteered in the investigation kennels at Hillsborough County Animal Services, where she was able to bring awareness to the Pit Bull breed. Crystal was able to help her community become more “pit friendly” and breed knowledgeable. Crystal is the founder of Pit Bulls Pounding the Pavement, the first of its kind, in the state of Florida and in the Tampa Bay area. PBPP’s mission is to promote responsible ownership and bring a positive image to American Pit Bull Terrier’s, while still staying true to the breed. Their goal is to bring all sides of the Pit Bull community “together as one.” As advocates, they believe that everyone needs to do everything possible to preserve, protect and ensure the future of the American Pit Bull Terrier breed, because extinction is permanent and forever. Crystal is also proud to be affiliated with MCABSL. She is happy to aid.
Gina Stabile is an attorney who grew up in Miami Beach, Florida. While practicing law in New York City, Gina and her husband and sister adopted an American Pit Bull Terrier, Lily. At the time, they were completely unaware that the breed ban existed in Miami. After several years of living in New York, Gina and her husband decided to move back to Miami Beach, but were not able to bring their beloved Lily with them because of the breed ban. After seeing so many families with pit bulls as their pets while living in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Gina couldn’t fathom why these family pets were completely outlawed in Miami-Dade County and she decided to get involved with MCABSL. Gina hopes one day she can bring Lily to Miami. Until then, Lily lives in Manhattan with Gina’s sister.
Dr. Ian Kuplee
Dr. Ian Kupkee joined Sabal Chase Animal Clinic in 2004, after practicing in various veterinary hospitals in the tri-county area for seven years. He graduated sixth in his class from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in 1996, and moved to South Florida in 1999. He is “owned” by two miniature dachshunds and a geriatric lovebird.Dr. Kupkee’s first experience with a pit bull was in treating an eight week old blue pitttie puppy during vet school. She had been surrendered to the College because of an ongoing skin problem, and it did not take her long to wrap the young student around her proverbial little finger. Her condition resolved close to Doc’s graduation day, and the College gave him the opportunity to adopt the little pit puppy. When he learned that pit bulls are banned in Dade County, he decided it would be best for all involved not to bring her into a city that would not accept her. He has hated Miami’s breed ban ever since.In addition to wellness and routine care, Dr. Kupkee’s special interests include internal medicine, surgery, dentistry, opthalmology, and of course, ending BSL. He and his wife, Lynn have been married for ten years and they both volunteer with a spay/neuter program in Costa Rica.
Ernie Sims, Sr.
Ernie Sims is the Co-Founder/Chief Executive Officer of The WAY Ministries and has served the organization since 1994. Brother Sims served as the Associate Pastor at Fellowship Baptist Church for over 20 years before becoming a full-time Missionary for America’s Youth. He served as Youth Pastor, Sunday School Superintendent, Sunday School Teacher, and Director of Children’s Church, Teen Impact Ministry and Couples Ministry. In 2002, Brother Sims went full-time in the ministry realm and has served faithfully as an inner-city Missionary to America’s Youth. For the past 26 years Ernie has been a proud pet owner and has exposed his entire family to the gifts behind nature and the animal world. Over the years his passion for animals has grown to where he and his family now own Exclusive Kennels, LLC and also promote the American Pit Bull Terrier breed. They have joined forces with Cheryl Caragan of Caragan Kennels to bring awareness to and fight Breed Specific Legislation throughout the country.
Bob Benyo, President Bobby’s Landing, is an aviation professional with more than 17 years in the aviation industry, including owning and operating a flight school, FBO, land lease, and banner towing businesses all over the continental United States, with bases in Pembroke Pines, FL, St. Petersburg, FL, and New Jersey. He holds an FAA A&P and IA License and has worked as a mechanic for more than 30 years. Benyo has built his companies on a reputation of excellence in training, professionalism, quality, and service. Benyo has been a pioneer in training by being the first FAA approved administrator of both a Laser Grade Test Center and Sulvan Prometric Test Center in south Florida. Benyo has also created FAA Approved Traingin Curriculums which have been adopted by the FAA as “Industry Best Practices.” Recently, Benyo expanded his business ventures in Southern Florida to include a six acre Fixed Base Operation with hangars and aircraft tie-downs. Benyo has transitioned this company from a small rundown operation to a world class FBO, quadrupling fuel sales and expanding services. Due to Benyo’s vast knowledge of Piper aircraft, he is currently working through FAA approval to modify aircraft by publishing a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC).
Andrea is a Miami native and has been in the media industry for over 10 years. She has done freelance editing and photography for different non-profit dog organizations. She is the proud owner and founder of Wiggle Waggle Tails, LLC. Which is a pet sitting and video production company. Andrea has been working at Miami Dade College (MDC) Media Services, and is one of the top video editors and producers for big MDC video projects and has been a local dog rescuer for over 10 years. Miami’s Pit Fall is Andrea’s first documentary that she has produced and directed.
Dr. Raul Jimenez
Dr. Jimenez has been a veterinarian since 1984. Internship, residency and tenures go from Cornell University, University of Florida, Auburn University and an Executive MBA at FIU.
Over the last 30 years his passion for Veterinary Medicine has taken him from Equine Orthopedics between Florida and 6 different north eastern states (DE, MA, PA, NJ, NY & MD) to becoming a partner in a multi-doctor Veterinary Hospital in South Florida; expanding during that time, the foundation to establish his optimal practice. In 2010 Biscayne Veterinary Center was instituted as a comprehensive Veterinary Center to manage 24 hours of the highest Veterinary care. Dr. Jimenez is a true believer in the advantage of technology which is not only present in the actual equipment and instrumentation in his Center but also with the new acquisition of a full Imaging Center that will include MRI, CT-scan and Nuclear Scintigraphy within BVC’s compound. He is also a firm believer that Breed Specific Legislation has no scientific foundation.
She later released The Original Rude Girl, her second studio album for Sony label, which spawned the hit single “In the Zone”. However, Ivy Queen did not rise to fame until she moved to an independent record label to release her third studio album, Diva in 2003. Queen’s albums Diva, Flashback, and Sentimiento have all been awarded Gold and Platinum record status by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Her seventh studio album Drama Queen was released in 2010, and spawned a top ten single “La Vida es Así”. It was followed by the Grammy-nominated Musa in 2012. Queen’s recordings often include themes of female empowerment, infidelity, and relationships, and she is often referred to as the Queen of Reggaeton.
Queen has also ventured into acting, has been involved with an anti-cancer charity, and has launched a doll modeled on her appearance. In February 2012, she made her acting debut in Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues”.
Lucky was Felix Conde’s Best Friend and Service Dog. He was the Service Dog that initiated a law suit against Miami Dade-County when he was confiscated for being a Pit Bull. Both Felix and Lucky fought hard. At the end ..Lucky was finally recognized by the county as a Service Dog. Shortly thereafter, unexpectedly from complications, Lucky passed. Although Felix was devastated, in his memory, he continues to fight BSL. Today he has Yoshi, another Pit Bull as his Service Dog. Together they remain ambassadors for the breed
One of Dahlia Canes favorite rescues. A true ambassador for his breed. He would always attend our MCABSL events and gladly give everyone kisses. He will be missed. R.I.P. Opapa