Update: Intersex Shelter Dog Adopted By High Profile Gay Rights Lawyer

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi

January 12, 2016

***Update 2/16/16***

Good news for Cody, the rescued Pit Bull mix born with both male and female external sex organs. He/she has been adopted by Dana Nessel, a lawyer who represented a lesbian couple’s court case that culminated last year in the Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage across the country.

Cody the Intersex Pit Bull Dog

Nessel told Detroit News:

He/she is a super sweetheart. My family has been without a dog. He/she has a great disposition … very affectionate. We just want to give it lots of love. […] We’re going to pick a pronoun and we’re going to stick with it.

At first, Nessel’s two cats weren’t exactly thrilled with the new family member, but they’re apparently already starting to come around. The only thing left to do for the family now is to pick a new name for the Pit Bull mix. Nessel is pulling for Ziggy Stardust.

Congratulations to Cody (or should I say Ziggy?), Nessel, and their family! May you have a wonderful life together!


***Original Story***

A unique, silver Pit Bull Mix arrived at the Detroit Dog Rescue shelter on Tuesday. The sickly pooch had been picked up by the city’s animal control service and was listed as a male named Cody. Examination revealed that Cody had been born with a rare form of canine hermaphroditism – “he” has both male and female external sex organs.


Executive Director of Detroit Dog Rescue, Kristina Rinaldi, hopes that Cody may one day serve as a therapy dog for young adults living with similar conditions. Rinaldi is even willing to act as a temporary handler for Cody should he pass behavioral requirements for a therapy dog. She plans to reach out to Affirmations, a Metro-Detroit based community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

She told CBS News:

We also may want to use Cody to talk to teens who maybe are going through the same things, we want to reach out to Affirmations in Ferndale and maybe we can use Cody as an example that there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s not strange, it happens to the best animals and the best people … Maybe Cody can help some other people deal with some feelings they may be dealing with.

For now, Cody is recovering from malnutrition and pneumonia (possibly caused by Canine Distemper) at Greenfield Animal Hospital in Southfield, MI. Arrangements have been made for sterilization surgery to be performed by a veterinary reproductive specialist at Michigan State once the dog is healthy enough. Hopefully the procedure will provide more answers as to the nature of Cody’s condition.

Cody The Intersex Pit Bull Full Image

Intersex dogs are considered quite rare, although official statistics are not available. These conditions tend to occur more frequently in purebred dogs and in puppies born to mothers being treated with steroids. Cody’s background is currently a mystery, but efforts are being made to get more information from Detroit Animal Control.


Either way, Rinaldi plans to ensure that Cody gets the same treatment as any other dog taken in by DDR. “He” will be treated for his illnesses, altered by the reproductive specialist, and then placed for adoption.

Cody is still going to live his life out like a completely normal dog. Cody’s going to be a great pet for somebody.

If you’d like to help Detroit Dog Rescue in their mission to save dogs’ lives – dogs like Cody – please consider donating via their website or helping in some other way.

H/T to CBS News and Detroit Free Press

Featured Image via Detroit Dog Rescue

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Written by: Dina Fantegrossi

January 12, 2016

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