Gentle Men Prefer Dogs

Animal lover mounts PR campaign to protect pets.

By Amy Mulvihill - May 2016

Gentle Men Prefer Dogs

Animal lover mounts PR campaign to protect pets.

By Amy Mulvihill - May 2016

MMA fighter John Rallo and Sande Riesett pose with some furry friends. -Photography by Brian Schneider

When a spate of animal cruelty cases rocked Baltimore five years ago, Sande Riesett was horrified, especially because much of the violence had been perpetrated by teens. In response, the former advertising exec co-founded Show Your Soft Side, a public service campaign of photos of macho celebs cuddling with animals, accompanied by the slogan “Only a punk would hurt a cat or a dog.”

“It was really obvious that these kids aren’t going to listen to me,” says Riesett. “The people they look up to are big, strong athletes, rappers, rockers. So I just kept wondering if we could get them involved would [that] maybe [make] the kids take more notice.”

More than just the kids took notice. “Our big goal was to maybe raise enough money to put posters in city schools,” says Riesett. “Within weeks, we had over $200,000 worth of free media.”

Participating “softies” include everyone from Adam Jones of the Orioles and MMA fighter John Rallo, to Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee and former Raven Torrey Smith.

On May 13, Show Your Soft Side will host Pawject Runway, a cocktail party/fashion show at Royal Farms Arena in which softies will “model” adoptable pets from Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS). All proceeds will benefit BARCS and Riesett promises a good time. “How can you not have a good time when you’ve got a glass of wine in one hand and a kitten in the other?”





You May Also Like


The Chatter

The New York Times Publishes “The Tragedy of Baltimore”

ProPublica’s Alec MacGillis digs deep into city’s violence and police corruption.

Arts & Culture

Cameo: Edward Doyle-Gillespie

We talk to “The Poet of the Baltimore Police Department”

Arts District

Jemicy School Theater Students Selected to Attend International Festival

The school’s performance of “Peter and the Starcatcher” earned them a coveted place at the festival this June.


Arts & Culture

In The Stacks

The Archive at Ida B’s Table aims to educate and inspire guests.

Food & Drink

World Cafe

Mera Kitchen empowers immigrant and refugee women through food entrepreneurship.

The Chatter

New Book Explores Extraordinary Life of Baltimore’s First Black City Councilwoman

Power of the Ballot chronicles life of civil rights leader Victorine Q. Adams.

MMA fighter John Rallo and Sande Riesett pose with some furry friends. -Photography by Brian Schneider

Connect With Us

Most Read


Balti Virtual Partners with Washington Capitals for New Augmented Reality Game: Just in time for the playoffs, the Baltimore company designed augmented reality game Tilt The Ice.

Weird Wine Event to Showcase Maryland’s Most Peculiar Blends: Makers gather to highlight wines made with everything from coffee to fish peppers.

Maryland Legislature Passes Brewery Modernization Act: Plus, new laws will loosen distillery regulations and distribution relationships.

Baltimore Eagle Reopening on Easter Weekend: The Station North bar plans a “resurrection” to celebrate an even more inclusive, community feel.

Open & Shut: Sophomore Coffee; The Urban Oyster; Raw Bar; Smoke: The latest restaurant openings, closings, and recent news.