Big Dogs Keep Dog Abuse Under Customers' Noses

 |  Sep 24th 2007  |   1 Contribution


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Big bark outs to Big Dogs!!!

Thanks to Pacific Coast Business Times for this article.

Big Dogs shows teeth - Apparel maker sells anti-abuse shirts

By Emily Rancer
Staff Writer
Sept. 24, 2007

Santa Barbara-based Big Dogs always has taken a stance against animal abuse. But with its latest line of T-shirts, the apparel company is showing its bite is just as big as its bark.

And it has the sales to prove it.


On Sept. 1, Big Dogs released four humorous but thought-provoking" T-shirts with an anti-Michael Vick, anti-animal cruelty theme. Within a week and a half, Big Dogs had sold more than 10,000 of them in its stores nationwide and online.

But the clothing firm emphasizes that its not exploiting Vick, a former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, to boost sales. A portion of the profits made from the new shirt designs will be funneled into the Big Dogs Foundation, which gives money to animal welfare organizations locally and nationally.

When we feel like we can help and make a difference through the graphics on our T-shirts and through the proceeds, were happy to take a shot at it," said Mike Walker, Big Dogs vice president of marketing. Although Vick and three associates were slapped with federal dog-fighting charges in July, Big Dogs waited until Vicks Aug. 27 admission of guilt before producing the shirts.

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The four designs include one in which a crying Vick is splayed over the knee of a big dog with its paw raised for a spank. The type above and below reads Whos Yer Daddy?"

Walker said the company knew it might face criticism over the shirts. Like most things you do where you take a stand, there are people who either dont agree with you or feel like youre capitalizing on it for publicity," Walker said. Our graphics have always commented on current cultures and social issues. Most of them have a little more fun and humor than this one."

Big Dogs has not faced any lawsuits over the shirts, and Walker said he does not foresee it becoming a legal controversy.

[Vick] is in the public domain, and Im not aware of anything, nor do we anticipate anything. In no way is he connected to Big Dogs or deserving legally or otherwise of any of the proceeds," Walker said.

Santa Barbara County has dealt with its own cases of dog fighting and other animal cruelty situations in recent years. In the fiscal year 2005 to 2006, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department of Animal Services investigated 916 reports of animal abuse, down from 1,185 the previous year.

Animal Services Director Jan Glick said the county responds daily to calls reporting animal abuse, including people who cut off the ears of pit bulls.

We still have one of those dogs here at the Santa Maria shelter," Glick said. Its a way to ready the animals for going into the fighting ring, so its just another brutal act that goes along with the dog fighting community."

Glick said she probably will not buy or wear one of the anti-Vick shirts produced by Big Dogs.

To me, its not humorous its a very serious topic," she said. Walker said the shirts were not just created to ridicule Vick, but to keep people aware that an abuse is taking place under our noses and keep that issue at the forefront."

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