Pit bulls face unique perils due to their exploitation in dogfights, breed-specific legislation and life-threatening stereotypes, so when a strong voice speaks up for them, it makes a difference. When that voice belongs to one of the most admired actors in the world—Sir Patrick Stewart—the difference can be transformational. For his deep commitment to improving the public’s perception of pit bulls and protecting them from cruelty, the ASPCA honors Sir Patrick Stewart with the 2021 Pit Bull Advocate & Protector Award.
Patrick was the face of the ASPCA’s National Dogfighting Awareness Day campaigns in 2017 and 2018. In that role, he enthusiastically participated in a moving anti-dogfighting video, toured ASPCA animal care facilities, and advocated for pit bull awareness on his social media channels and in television appearances including Conan and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
“This is a most extraordinary honor, which gives Sunny and me much pleasure, even though the privilege of helping to protect and celebrate pit bulls is all we need,” said actor and animal advocate Sir Patrick Stewart. “Our longing is that one day we shall be settled enough to welcome a pittie into our home for good—come that day.”
In 2017, Patrick and his wife Sunny fostered a pit bull named Ginger, an act documented in a popular video that helped people understand the valuable love and companionship pit bulls can offer families. Since then, Patrick and Sunny have fostered several more pit bulls in their home, and Patrick insisted on featuring a pit bull on his hit show Star Trek: Picard.
Patrick’s compassion also extends to other vulnerable companion animals. In 2020, he contributed a video for the ASPCA’s virtual Humane Awards event that encouraged attendees to support the ASPCA COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Initiative. He also used his voice on social media to help us promote a special senior pit bull, Foxie, who was having a hard time finding the right home.
The next year, Patrick joined other celebrities signing an open letter urging the New York State Legislature to shut down cruel puppy mills by ending the retail sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in New York pet stores.
“For years, Patrick has dedicated his time, energy, and popularity to demonstrating how pit bulls can make wonderful pets and helping us bring an end to dogfighting,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president and CEO. “He is an incredible voice and ally for these vulnerable dogs and uniquely deserving of our Pit Bull Advocate & Protector Award.”
Knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2010, Patrick continues to achieve incredible success and fandom as an actor, earning Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, Olivier and Saturn Award nominations. He is prominently known for his roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek TV series and films and Professor Charles Xavier in the X-Men film franchise. Across six decades, Patrick has appeared in more than 70 films, 50 television shows and 30 stage performances.
Thank you, Sir Patrick Stewart, for teaching the world the truth about pit bulls and helping them survive and thrive. Borrowing a line from Jean-Luc Picard, you make it so.
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