Introducing Preston

“Remembering Preston” | “Once In A Lifetime” Promo Video

On July 6, 2006, three dogs – including Preston, were taken from an Akron, Ohio home by humane investigators during a drug bust on the premise they were being used for dogfighting.

They were taken to the local humane society where they were kept as evidence until the conclusion of the case. The outlook was grim for dogs labeled pit bull in those days, and especially for dogs who came with suspected dogfighting backgrounds.

Enter Shana Klein of the Cleveland-based rescue – For the Love of Pits, who would go to this shelter usually twice per week “to temperament test or behavior assess the dogs, to see what type of temperaments were out there, as well as to determine if I wanted to bring any of the dogs into the rescue.”

She heard about Preston (then named Eeyore) from shelter staff who fell in love with him, but Preston and the other dogs he came in with were confined to their cages recovering from injuries allegedly sustained from dog-on-dog fighting, so Shana wasn’t allowed to see them.

She was given permission to spend time with Preston once he got better, knowing there was still a high chance that he’d be put to sleep – a standard shelter practice for “fighting dogs” confiscated.

“We didn’t have room for another dog, but just would go there and spend time with him, but I was always told he’s a fighting dog and knew very well that they euthanized”, Shana said.

One week she was notified that the other dogs Preston came in with were euthanized. And, then on a Friday (July 28, 2006) at around 2 o’clock she received a courtesy call from the shelter that Preston would be put to sleep at 4pm. In her words:

“I didn’t have room, but I knew I wasn’t going to let him die. I want to save them all and I know I can’t. You know, I know I can’t save them all but I was saving him.”

She drove to the shelter to talk to the Executive Director and begged to give her one more day, which was granted…and on the morning of Saturday, July 29, 2006 Shana arrived at the shelter to pick Preston up and took him to his first foster home.

I met Preston at Shana’s home on May 15, 2008 – just over a year into researching dogfighting for a documentary film with a working title “Fighting For Their Lives“, which started on April 25, 2007 – the day the home of NFL star quarterback Michael Vick was raided by federal authorities where they discovered dozens of pit bull dogs and possible evidence of dogfighting at his rural Virginia property.

I went to Shana’s house solely looking for information, but fell madly in love with Preston and declared my intentions to adopt him before leaving that afternoon.

Four days later, the Cleveland suburb I lived in – Lakewood, Ohio, proposed a ban of pit bull dogs on May 19th (2008), which altered my plans to bring him home. That ban was passed a few months later on July 21st, and my focus of my documentary pivoted from dogfighting to breed specific legislation, which became “Guilty ‘Til Proven Innocent,” inspired by Preston.

“Introducing Preston” | “Guilty ‘Til Proven Innocent” 2011 Promo Video

It took five months searching for a rental property who would welcome Preston and I as tenants, and on Saturday, October 4, 2008 that hard work finally paid off…Preston was officially home.

For the next few years Preston and I were tied at the hip. Anywhere I went, he did, too. Along the way we opened our home to two more dogs – Era on June 30, 2011 and Fergie on August 11, 2012, both from the Cleveland City Kennel, both labeled “pit bull” and subject to be killed because of that.

On Sunday, April 28, 2013, Guilty Til Proven Innocent premiered in Cleveland, and subsequently did twenty-some other screenings around the country, including two official film festival selections – 2013 St. Louis International Film Festival and 2014 Kansas City Film Fest, along with three law school universities showing it as part of their animal law curriculum, among other accomplishments.

On January 7, 2019 Preston suffered his first known seizure at the estimated elderly age of 14. He went to his veterinarian the following day to have bloodwork and other tests run, where it was discovered he was anemic. After another seizure on Friday, January 11th, he was rushed to a local northeast Ohio veterinary hospital, where he stayed the entire weekend to be monitored and passed around to the different specialty departments.

He was discharged on Monday, January 14th as his health improved enough that he could finish his daily treatments at home with follow up appointments every couple weeks to check on his progress. He lived a total of 14 months before his health declined and it was time. On the evening of March 16, 2020 at about 9:20pm, at the age of 15 years old, Preston took his final breath.

Shortly thereafter, I started pre-production on a docuseries titled “Once In A Lifetime” that uses home video of Preston (and the girls) shot through his time here, told through the lens of the ongoing controversial and emotionally charged pit bull dog debate.

Related Links:

The Archives | 1915 WWI Poster

This is the fifth edition of this – “THE ARCHIVE” blog series, which gives an inside look into my personal physical collection of original historical…

The Archives | 1893 Pit Bull Dog and Children

This is the third edition of this – “THE ARCHIVE” blog series, which gives an inside look into my personal physical collection of original historical…

Promotional Videos:
“12 Years In 2 Minutes” | “Once In A Lifetime” Promo Video
“October 4th” | “Once In A Lifetime” Promo Video