By Stephanie Watson

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Animal Rescue League of Western PA is celebrating a record year of adoptions – more than 5,000.

“It’s been a lot of hard work for our staff and volunteers here and it’s great to see so many animals go out in the Pittsburgh Community into loving homes,” Animal Rescue League Executive Director Dan Rossi.

Maude, a pit bull mix, was the 5,000th adoption. Her happy owner is Ryan Brown of Munhall.

“It’s amazing! And to be part of the 5,000th adoption – adopting a dog is an amazing feeling coming down and adopting two of them now,” Brown said.

Ryan just a few months ago adopted Maude’s brother Harold. Even in light of the controversy surrounding this bully breed, he came back for his sister after having such a successful adoption with Harold.

“It really comes down to the training with any dog,” Brown said. “He’s a house dog he’s great around people we take him down to Frick Park every few times a week running around with other kids and other dogs.”

That successful adoption is credited to the Rescue League’s thorough screening and testing, going beyond the required spay and neuter process and shots to rehabilitate dogs.

“Our behavioralists work on certain things like food aggression, getting them to be able to walk on a leash, barking behaviors – things like that,” Rossi said.

“We do temperament testing to see what temperament they have, what type of homes they would be best in, if they’re good with children, if they’re good with other animals.

“It’s really any breed and again pit bulls have this bad mark on them – it’s really not true,” Rossi explained. “We’ll see behaviors with the best of dogs – poodles that may come in.”

The shelter had a record breaking year with 5,249 adoptions. That’s out of about 9,000 animals that came to the shelter in 2010.

For more information about adoption, visit