How far would you go to keep your dog? For one California family, the answer is “as far as it takes.” The Devia family of Walnut Creak, Calif. lived out of their car for months to avoid giving up their beloved pit bull, Rocco.
The trouble began when Carol and Peter Devia both lost their newspaper delivery jobs and were subsequently evicted from their apartment. When the couple and their two sons began looking for new housing, landlords would take one look at Rocco and turn the family away.
“When landlords see Camilla, they have no problem with her. Everybody will take her,” Carol told ABC News, referring to the family’s other canine family member. “But as soon as they see Rocco, they say ‘Oh no.’”
Camilla, a lab mix, and Rocco, the pit bull, are both housetrained and obedient animals, according to the Devias. But Rocco alone caused the housing crisis that the Devia family, as well as so many other pit bull-loving families, were forced to face. And while seventeen states have passed laws preventing breed-based doggy discrimination, Calif. is apparently not one of them.
Pit bull advocacy organization BAD RAP collected donations to support the Devias, which allowed the family to live in a hotel through the winter. But after bouts of bed bugs in a series of cheap pet-friendly hotels, Carol and Peter moved into their car, while their sons couchsurfed at friends’ homes.
Thankfully, this story has a happy ending. One landlord learned of the Devias’ plight through a pit bull advocacy group, and offered the family a pit bull-friendly place to live. The family moved into their new home just in time to celebrate their son’s 20th birthday. After months of eating “noodles and soups and 7-Eleven sandwiches,” the prospect of a birthday dinner cooked in a proper kitchen was nothing short of thrilling.
BAD RAP will continue to collect donations for the family through [email protected]