Of the dogs who stood in front of NYC Pet on Driggs Ave. on Saturday, a surprising number had both first and last names. There was a collie-shepherd named David Hasselhoff, a basset hound-boxer named Patrick Henry, and a Calhoun hound-pit bull named Faye Dunaway — in addition to a “super mellow” beagle mix, whose dirty blonde erudition and Germanic allure had apparently compelled a previous owner to name her Carole Lombard. Though some of the dogs were still considered puppies, most were at least twice the size of a shoebox, and all of them were hoping to find adopters, as part of the weekly-to-biweekly events organized by Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue.

Photo © Patricia Jones

Members of BBAR, a group dedicated to “saving badass dogs from idiot humans,” are united by a deep, broad, long-lasting attachment to dogs as friends. Most grew up with dogs in their homes, and those who aren’t pet owners tend to see their volunteer work as a way to keep dogs in their lives, keeping them company on events like Saturday’s, where they can be matched up with prospective owners who seem like a good fit.

Johnny Bergmann, a bearded co-founder of the group, has over the years helped hundreds of foster dogs find a place to live, at one point sharing space with eleven dogs at a time. Like the other volunteers, he gives the impression of having an enormous heart, and frequently emulates the pained sincerity and wordless head-shaking of owners, who have had to give their pets back to a shelter, because they lacked the time or money to take care of them.

Photo © Patricia Jones

In the South, where most of BBAR’s animals are found, this is a serious problem. Shelters in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina euthanize as many as 90% of the dogs in their care — a far higher rate than New York City’s shelters — and since 2011, hundreds of these have been rescued by willing owners in the northeast. Bergmann’s first rescue, a Fyce he named Cascade (after his favorite variety of hops; he is also a brewer), was two hours away from being put down when he was rescued. When a new owner was found, Cascade was renamed Nutmeg, though Bergmann still keeps two dogs of his own, including a smooth fox terrier named Jackson, and a fluffy black and white King Charles-Cavalier-Papillon named Reese.

Photo © Patricia Jones

Jared and Julie, two veteran Badass volunteers, have been fostering Patrick Henry for long enough that they were close to getting too attached. Though Patrick is as energetic as a small child (waking them both at 6 AM most days) they were considering adopting him themselves if he wasn’t picked up by the end of the day.


BBAR was named “Shelter of the Month” by Project Blue Collar, an organization dedicating to publicly identifying and celebrating rescue dogs. If you’re interested in volunteering, or to learn more about the dogs up for adoption, click here.

Join the Conversation


  1. Saving dogs from the deep south… why don’t they save dogs from Brooklyn Animal Care & Control, where 8 month old puppies with perfect evaluations are killed every. darn. day. So sad they are trucking in dogs from far away and ignoring the incredibly needy dogs dumped by their neighbors and killed by New York City’s own high-kill public shelter.

    1. I rescued a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog from a shelter. It was actually Northshore Animal League. They said that since there are so many Pit Bulls here, and so many Catahoulas down south that they actually trade them – ship the pit bulls down there and bring the Catahoulas up here. I am not sure Badass is doing that but I can’t imagine they are adopting dogs from the south and overlooking our own shelter dogs.

      1. I really hope that you misunderstood NSAL. If you think the south has an overpopulation of Catahoulas you should see the number of pits that die everyday. No one should be “shipping” pit bulls anywhere. They are the number one “breed” killed in shelters all across the US and no section of the country has a shortage.

        1. I understand that pit bulls are killed in shelters all over and it’s a problem in places other than NYC I am just reporting what someone told me. It might have been weird propaganda, it was like 5 years ago – but I know I see a lot more catahoulas up here and never even knew what they were until I got one. I am glad someone shipped up my dog Charlie – he was returned like 10 times because he has major behavioral problems, but we love him. He is not worth less because he wasn’t born in NYC. This is such a ridiculous conversation and undermines all the effort of these volunteers who are trying to help ALL animals.

  2. It’s very sad that despite the fact we know very well that poverty is the most likely reason a pet will end up at the shelter, we continue to refer to impoverished pet owners as idiots, and do so proudly. Is this group offering free spay and neuter services or low cost vetting and training to low income pet owners in the areas where they pull animals? I didn’t think so.

    1. There was no intention here of calling low income people idiots – that’s a stretch – Anonymous. Everyone has their own opinion of how to deal with the stray pet population in the city, but let’s not forget that the intentions here are to help animals in need. Don’t take that comment so seriously. It’s a way to get attention to shed some light on the real problem and provide people with information on where to adopt and help animals in need. They are doing their part and it’s not necessarily their job to also fund spay/neuter.

      1. I keep in touch with my rescued dog’s former owner. He is lower income and had to move into a building which would not allow him to bring his large dog, he had no other option but to be homeless. He struggled to find friends or family to keep the dog for him to no avail, and ultimately was forced to bring him to the shelter. It was the most heartbreaking decision of his life. I am so grateful for all that he did for my dog because he is the best dog, and he is grateful to me for adopting him when he could no longer take care of him. He is not the enemy here but unfair housing laws and general systemic flaws in our society that make it incredibly difficult to keep your pet when you don’t have many resources, no matter how much you love them. But I guess this rescue group would call him an ‘idiot’ and think that’s ok because it ‘draws attention to the problem.’ Additionally, not sure how many people are inspired to adopt dogs who have been raised by ‘idiots’ (the most common reason people site for not wanting to adopt would be that ‘you don’t know what you’re getting’) but whatever.

        1. And it’s fine if they want to rescue dogs and not help with spay/neuter, etc. But unless you are offering resources (of which there are VERY few) to people who want to keep their pets so they don’t have to surrender them to the shelter, don’t call them idiots.

    2. I do not agree at all with your assumption that the majority of pets are surrendered by their owners when they can no longer afford them. Where have you heard this information?
      I see animals dumped every day due to people moving, having children, the dog got too big, the dog peed on my rug, the dog, the dog, the dog…I can’t bother to be an upstanding human being and fix this problem, I’m going to hand it over to someone else…because I am a selfish bastard.
      Certainly not every dog who is surrendered comes from these terrible people, but more often than not these are the stories that are told when dropping off a “beloved” pet. Beloved my butt. You wouldn’t drop your children off at a shelter if you could no longer deal with them. Pets are living, breathing, feeling, souled creatures, and they deserve better than that. It disgusts me how often people view animals as disposable items, only good for a few years before they become some else’s problem.
      I applaud this name, this group, and their purpose.

  3. Bringing in dogs to a city where dogs are euthanized every night? That’s crazy. And trust me, there’s no “catahoula — pit bull” exchange going on. It’s just easier to place dogs that aren’t put bulls, and easier to deal with shelters that aren’t in NYC. Doesn’t make it right, though.

        1. Elizabeth – that is not what I am saying. I am saying that these rescues are doing their best and can we just let people do good deeds without shitting on it? I also still think ALL animals deserve a chance and that arguing about this is the biggest waste of time and doesn’t help any animals at all.

          1. This article is about one rescue group, who are choosing to “rescue” dogs from other states while ignoring dogs that are a few miles away from them. It’s a question that should be asked, and I’m not sure what your investment is in pretending it’s a non- issue. Instead of ceaselessly importing dogs, maybe someone should work in those communities to increase spay/neuter. It’s poor business and bad altruism. Good intentions aren’t always enough.

  4. Are you people serious?? You’re going to complain that they’re bringing dogs in from other states? Yes, I’m fully aware of NYC’s issues with ACC and the fact that ACC kills animals on a daily basis, even perfectly healthy animals. However, saving an animal is saving an animal. These rescue groups bust their asses to rescue animals and I don’t care where they’re rescusing them from – every animal deserves help.

  5. I am a volunteer at said high kill NYC shelter, the ACC. Week in and week out I see, walk, photograph and fall heads over heals in love with these dogs. Then a mere few days later I see them dead. So yes, it is frustrating to see rescues pulling dogs from down south when their resources could be used right here in our own backyard. It becomes a little more personal if you actually get to know these dogs, and “saving an animal is saving an animal” no longer applies when you actually meet these dogs and you want the ones you PERSONALLY know to be saved and they can’t because rescue resources are being used elsewhere.

  6. Hi there i have ready some people saying and i have something to say yes these dogs are been kill or use or abusted which is sad to say buy also the landloard dont want animals today exspecialy pitbulls because what happen we need today find way peiple can keep animals and away of stop breeding them it is true my vet told me that they are 500 to 5,000 kill everyday arould tjeworld and it is sad but we need to stop breeding them also cause mor will be kill everyday beause people dont want them once theee old and sick and landloard dont want them and alot of home owns dont want them next store is a very sad and heart broken issuse going on in the world

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