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A pit bull named Cinderella waited more than three years in a shelter. Her story has a happy ending

Cinderella, a 6-year-old brown-and-white female mixed pit bull, has been adopted.
Cinderella, a 6-year-old brown-and-white female mixed pit bull, spent more time than any of the dogs at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ facility in Long Beach. She was adopted by a Wilmington family.
(Courtesy of spcaLA)
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For months, video clips that circulated on social media and local newscasts told the tale of 6-year-old Cinderella, a brown-and-white female pit bull mix living at a Long Beach shelter but looking for a permanent home.

Cinderella spent more time — 1,139 days — than any of the 105 dogs housed at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ facility in Long Beach.

Cinderella had her loving fans: a legion of pet lovers who donated for her knee surgery and a few volunteers who helped her recover afterward.

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Yet she lingered in the facility for more than three years — probably because of the reputation of her breed — while the average dog put up for an spcaLA adoption waited between 10 days and two weeks, according to spcaLA spokesperson Ana Bustilloz.

The wait ended when Wilmington’s Jessika and Joseph Solis Sr., a couple looking to adopt, asked the crucial question: “Who has been here the longest?”

On Thursday, the couple and their infant son Joseph Jr. adopted Cinderella, ending a saga that began when the dog arrived at spcaLA in August 2020.

“In terms of finding Cinderella or any dog a home, you have to ask yourself questions like, ‘Does this dog fit in your family and are you prepared to care of the animal?” Bustilloz said. “In this case, it was a perfect fit.”

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Cinderella’s journey to adoption hit a snag shortly after her arrival at the shelter when she developed a limp in her left back leg. Radiographs performed at VCA Rossmoor-El Dorado Animal Hospital showed she needed surgery to repair a torn ligament in her knee.

The surgery cost $3,000 and was made possible thanks to donations from spcaLA supporters. Cinderella underwent a successful operation at VCA Lakewood Hospital and convalesced at a volunteer’s home for a month. There, she received food, rest and veterinary care, according to Bustilloz.

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“Staff did an excellent job keeping Cinderella healthy and joyful while she was at spcaLA,” spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein said in a statement. “I also must acknowledge our donors. Without their support, this happy ending would not be possible!”

Bustilloz said that no other animal had stayed longer during her 13-year tenure than Cinderella.

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Officials from spcaLA speculated that Cinderella’s pit bull breed — and its largely unfounded reputation as ill-tempered — played into her delay.

Bustilloz noted that many insurance agencies will not grant home coverage for pit bulls, while some people are afraid of the breed.

One of the previous longest-staying dogs, according to Bustilloz, was also a pit bull named Melvin, who spent 667 days with the spcaLA before being adopted in March 2021.

Two mixed terrier and pit bulls named Hashbrown and Diego have been waiting for a home since 2021, according to Bustilloz. An Akita-terrier-pit bull mix named Jamie has also been hanging around since late 2020.

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“A lot of people have very negative connotations regarding pit bulls and we just want people to be mindful, to ask us questions, and not be shy simply because of a dog’s breed or lifestyle,” Bustilloz said. “Breed bans and stigmas are unfortunate.”

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