MMA Fighter Dan Root Shows His Soft Side to Help Animals

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By Karen Harrison Binette

For those who aren’t familiar with MMA, Dan Root demonstrates his submission technique – a very critical skill to have when your kitty says he doesn’t want to be in the photo shoot.

Mixed martial arts fighter Dan Root is one of the latest men with a connection to Baltimore to stand up for animals and join the Show Your Soft Side campaign.

Show Your Soft Side billboards encourage Baltimore’s youth to get the message that cool guys, tough guys, athletes and other men love and respect animals, and only punks in the worst understanding of the word hurt them.

The campaign was created through the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force. Show Your Soft Side maintains an active Show Your Soft Side Facebook page.

For more cat related photos from the campaign, see See also, Tough Yet Tender and Comedian is Covered in Kittens For a Cause.

When Dan Root isn’t striking and grappling, he’s usually cuddling. What is it about mixed martial arts that seems to bring out the soft side in guys?

(Photography by Leo Howard Lubow)

The campaign’s mission is explained thus:

Show Your Soft Side” is a campaign developed to combat the alarming incidence of animal abuse in Baltimore. Many of the more horrific cases have been perpetrated by teens, thus leading the Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Advisory Commission to look for ways to change the mindset of young people who often view the maiming and torturing of defenseless dogs and cats as a sign of “toughness” or “manhood”. The campaign puts forth a very different message – a message that subtly shows that “being a man” has many facets to it, including a “soft side” when it comes to animals. The goal is to reach kids early because research shows that kids who abuse animals soon graduate to even more violent crimes. Featuring acknowledged hard men of Baltimore with their pets, the campaign’s posters, billboards and print ads make the point that only a punk would hurt a cat or dog.

The Mayor’s Anti-Animal Abuse Task Force was created in July 2009 after a young pit-bull terrier – who was subsequently called Phoenix – was doused with gasoline and set on fire in broad daylight in West Baltimore. On November 3, 2010, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake signed the Anti-Animal Abuse Commission into law with the goal of helping the city prevent and prosecute animal cruelty, including dog fighting.


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