Former pit bull stray from Cleveland newest face on Ohio license plate

CLEVELAND — Jack was once a former stray taken in by a home shelter. Now he is the face of Ohio’s newest license plate.

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The white pit bull, an alumnus of City Dogs Cleveland, was chosen as the model for the license plate, which benefits the Ohio Pet Fund. The “Jack Plate” is available now on the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles website.

Cartoonist Jenny Campbell said she was asked in 2021 by the organization to design a new pet-friendly plate, and it came with a special request.

“They wanted to do a pit bull,” Campbell told WKYC-TV.

Jack turned out to be the perfect model, the television station reported.

“Not just because he’s a great rescue story,” Campbell told WKYC. “But because it’s a nod to Timy (Sullivan), because she’s done so much for animal welfare in northeastern Ohio.”

Sullivan, Jack’s owner, has worked to change the public’s perceptions of pit bulls, according to the television station.

Sullivan and other volunteers began the City Dogs program in 2014 at the Cleveland Animal Care and Control.

“Every dog they had was a pit bull,” Sullivan told WKYC. “The reputation of pit bulls at that time ... (they) did not have a very good reputation.”

The volunteers began bringing pit bulls to public events.

“Our goal with each of these events was to have at least one person walk out of there saying, ‘I met a really nice pit bull today.’”

Sullivan met Jack, who arrived at City Dogs after a failed adoption.

“I really didn’t have any intentions of adopting another dog,” Sullivan told WKYC. “But you know, it was one of those magical things.”

And now, Jack is a statewide star.

The plate honoring pets costs $25 and comes in four versions: Ohio Pets, Cat Friendly, Dog Friendly 1 and Dog Friendly2.