Dogs of all shapes and sizes gathered in Brownwood’s Depot Plaza on Saturday for Barktoberfest, an Oktoberfest-inspired festival benefiting local animal rescue efforts. Breeds from pugs to corgis to boxers could be seen sniffing and strutting around the festival grounds.
    One group of dogs in the Depot’s far corner, however, was lucky to be there at all.
    Angels & Outlaws Second Chance Bully Ranch was founded several years ago by Jennifer Aikman, who worked for years rescuing animals before starting the specialty shelter. Angels & Outlaws focuses on bull breeds—dogs like bulldogs, terriers and, of course, pit bulls.
    The Stephenville-based nonprofit organization has many initiatives. “We do lots of educational things with families and kids,” Aikman said. “We do lots of presentations with children on how to interact with dogs, and then we do readings at the libraries with service dogs, bring them in and let the kids read to the dogs.”
    Aikman said Angels & Outlaws also helped with veterinary care and food costs for needy owners, as well as providing service dogs to veterans with PTSD and K9 dogs to rural law enforcement agencies. Of course, most of the dogs are up for adoption as well.
    One such pit bull at Barktoberfest was Titus, or Tye. Tye, a friendly young pit bull, sat patiently in the shade and occasionally walked up to passersby for a curious sniff.
    “He thinks he needs to say hi to everybody he sees,” Aikman said. “We’ve been taking him to meet-and-greets since he was stabbed last year, and so … he thinks everyone’s just there to see him.”
    Angels & Outlaws received Tye a year ago after he was stabbed and beaten in the backyard of his Brownwood home. As the Bulletin reported at the time, the homeowners alleged that Titus had attacked other pets at the home before the beating occurred.
    Tye rehabbed for months at Angels & Outlaws and was made eligible for adoption just a few months ago. “He’s very friendly. He loves people,” Aikman said. “He’s a little nervous over here.”
    Aikman said Tye’s attack had occurred just blocks away. “But for the most part, he’s doing pretty good,” she said.
    Aikman said Angels & Outlaws kept about 20 dogs at any given time, depending on the level of need. Some of the dogs were eligible for adoption fairly quickly, while some rescues, like Titus, needed months of rehabilitation to recover from the traumas of their pasts.
    “We put everything into them regardless of cost,” she said, “to make sure they are healthy and productive members of the pit bull community before we adopt them out.”
    Aikman said people interested in adopting or volunteering should check the group’s Facebook page. “We need more help, definitely. These rural areas don’t have the resources that the cities do,” she said.
    Angels & Outlaws rescues bull breeds primarily from Erath, Hamilton, Comanche, Eastland and Brown counties. Several dogs, including Titus, are available for adoption now.