I'm Mike Bizelli, a photographer in St. Louis, Missouri. My project is a book, Last Day on a Chain, a photo-documentary of compassion, salvation and misperceptions. For the past 20 years I have documented over 100 companion animal rescues of one sort or another for the Humane Society of Missouri and the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Ten of those rescues have been for pit bull fight dogs.
Last Day on a Chain, Stories of Compassion, Salvation and Misperceptions sheds light on the evil blood sport of dog fighting, overcomes the negative stereotypes that pit bulls suffer in the media and pays homage to the animal welfare agencies and legions of compassionate rescuers, shelter workers and foster and adoption families.
This is your opportunity to make this compassionate project come to life. Please pledge to help me reach our goal and get these pages into print. Together we can give these dogs a second chance.
Most Americans are under the impression that organized dog fighting in this country is no longer a problem since the high profile arrest, conviction and prison sentence of professional football player Michael Vick in 2007 for promoting this barbaric blood sport. At the same time, most people think pit bulls, and particularly those used in organized dog fighting, are by nature too dangerous and unfit for human adoption. Nothing could be further from the truth. Last Day on a Chain sets the record straight by taking readers through a series of high profile fight dog rescues since the Vick case, followed by convincing stories of very successful rehabilitation and family placements. There are 36 rescued fight dogs with their families featured.
Dog fighting is everywhere. It's in large metropolitan cities and in rural, isolated areas and maybe in your neighborhood. It's a secret, underground criminal activity that encompasses all socioeconomic classes. Several animal welfare agencies estimate that there are thousands of dog fighters in this country. That means there could be tens of thousands of dogs on chains in the fight business. Authorities are exposing other criminal activities associated with dog fighting; illegal drugs and weapons.
Your support for Last Day on a Chain, Stories of Compassion, Salvation and Misperceptions will give voice to the estimated thousands of fight dogs on chains in the United States. It is up to law enforcement, the judicial system and perhaps you to stop it. If you see dogs on heavy logging chains, living isolated lives, they might be involved with dog fighting and other criminal activities. Call your local animal control, police or sheriff's office and ask them to investigate.
The design, copy and all pertinent files for Last Day on a Chain are complete. Negotiations with a publisher are almost complete. The book is hard cover with a jacket, 144 pages with 205 photographs, 11 x 8.5 inches. It is divided into chapters: Rescues & Redemption; Rehabilitation Shelters; Waiting for a Family; and Coming Home.
Now I must give credit where it is due. I'm indebted to my friends on "Team Craig": Craig Martin Simon and Craig Workman. Mr. Workman is credited as the editor, but he also offered encouragement and had great suggestions on how to organize and present the story. Mr. Simon brought those ideas to life in the excellent design and layout. I think it makes Last Day on a Chain truly unique. The video was produced by my friend, Melvin Ide. He and I have been together on several animal rescues with the Humane Society of Missouri. My wife, Kay, was a loving supporter, rewrite and photo editor, advisor and patient listener. And many thanks to the dozens of families that allowed me to photograph them and their dogs. This is their story. I'm only the messenger.
And thanks to you for supporting this project. These dogs deserve a better fate.
Two images are being offered as print rewards: the cover, "The Embrace"
Rescued Animal Story Cards--All of the following 16 animals are rescues. These images are offered as a set of 16-5.5 x 8.5 inch postcards, each with a descriptive caption and an additional image on the back. They come neatly wrapped with a paper band and thank you card. This set will make a great gift for your animal-loving friends.
Budget--Your pledge to Last Day on a Chain, Stories of Compassion, Salvation and Misperceptions will go towards the first 1000 copies for publication, Animal Story Cards, caption cards, production services, distribution/shipping, shipping supplies, book storage, promotion rewards and Kickstarter fees. Any additional pledges will go towards publication of additional copies. Eighty-five percent of the budget is for the publishing and related fulfillment expenses for the book.
After the Kickstarter campaign is complete it could be 60-90 days before the book is actually published. Rewards should be fulfilled before that timeline.
Risks and challenges
Budgeting for the actual printing of the book, fulfillment from the publisher, selecting rewards, packaging, and calculating shipping rates have been the biggest challenges. The book and rewards will be shipped from two different sources. The publisher will ship the book. It will be up to me to ship the rewards. I have friends and family standing by to cheerfully assist.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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