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Friday, May 24, 2024


Miss Peaches to the Rescue

Miss Peaches to the Rescue

By Shay Roddy

Jillian Shoffler, a volunteer at Beacon Animal Rescue, taking a call from Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy and his famous pooch, Miss Peaches. Portnoy pledged to make a donation to Beacon using money his company has made from the dog’s extraordinary popularity.
Jillian Shoffler, a volunteer at Beacon Animal Rescue, taking a call from Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy and his famous pooch, Miss Peaches. Portnoy pledged to make a donation to Beacon using money his company has made from the dog’s extraordinary popularity.

Upper Township animal shelter gets a major donation from the social media star owner of an equally famed pit bull

A rescued pit bull that went viral after being adopted by Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy has inspired a campaign to raise money for animal shelters nationwide. One of the fund’s first beneficiaries is local.

Beacon Animal Rescue, in Upper Township, has been unable to take in new animals since March, when it began working on replacing its septic system, said Ryan Parker, the shelter’s executive director.

Jillian Shoffler, a volunteer at Beacon, emailed Portnoy this week asking for help. Portnoy’s dog, Miss Peaches, had amassed over a million Instagram followers since the page was started in February, and Barstool has been selling Miss Peaches “merch,” pledging to donate 100% of net proceeds to charity.

Portnoy, with Miss Peaches on his lap, called Shoffler May 1 to announce a donation to Beacon.

“My heart is literally beating through my chest. I might cry,” Shoffler said, her hand over her mouth in apparent shock, as she answered her phone to see Portnoy and Miss Peaches on the other end of the FaceTime call, which was viewed more than 4.5 million times, with over 270,000 likes, within 24 hours of its being posted to the Miss Peaches and Barstool Instagram pages.

“We got your email, did the research on Beacon, and me and Miss Peaches want to help,” Portnoy told her.

Parker, the rescue center’s director, said in a phone interview May 2 that it had been a “total whirlwind” since they received the news the day before.

“It was like an angel arrived. It’s absolutely incredible, and everybody here is so excited and grateful for the generosity,” he said.

Portnoy did not immediately return a message from the Herald seeking comment.

Parker said Shoffler had told him she reached out to Portnoy by email and was planning to follow up with him daily, hoping there was a chance Beacon might finally get his attention over time. What neither of them expected, Parker said, was for a phone call the very next day from the internet celebrity, promising to deliver everything they were asking for.

“[Shoffler] called me shortly after [Portnoy’s call to her], and that’s when I found out. I could hear her vibrating on the other side of the phone. She was just so electric,” he said. “The excitement here is palpable. Everybody is just so excited. We’re so grateful for Jillian to have reached out to do something so ambitious like that. Who would’ve thought? It’s a dream come true.”

The new septic system could cost around $35,000, and the repair is complicated by the fact the rescue center is surrounded by marshland, Parker said. However, Portnoy pledged to cover the cost of the repair, he said.

“That’s huge for us. That amount of money is oftentimes more than what we budget for additional costs each year,” he added.

Work should be done on the new septic system in the beginning of June, allowing Beacon to begin taking in animals again, Parker said.

Portnoy said he adopted Miss Peaches from Jet Wag Animal Rescue in Georgia in February, a day after seeing a video of her. When meeting the dog for the first time, he “made a video of it, just because I wanted a memory myself of meeting her. And whatever it is about Miss Peaches, she kind of captivated the world,” Portnoy said last month at a gala where he and Miss Peaches were honored for a $600,000 contribution to LifeLine Animal Project.

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy with his rescued pit bull, Miss Peaches, in March. Photo Credit: famousmisspeaches/Instagram

“She’s touched a nerve with basically everybody. It wasn’t planned — super organic — but she definitely, including myself, brought attention to adopting, not shopping. People are throwing money at her and the cause. And more importantly, I think we’ve had a lot of people — we’ve been at events, people coming up — saying they’re walking into shelters saying, ‘Can I get a Miss Peaches?’” he added.

Portnoy has risen to superstardom since founding Barstool in 2003 as a weekly print publication distributed at public transit stops, targeting men in the Boston area. Since then, the company has exploded in popularity online with a range of sports, gambling and pop culture content.

Barstool was sold to Penn Entertainment for $551 million in a two-part sale between 2020 and 2023. Later in 2023, after Barstool and Portnoy drew scrutiny from gambling regulators, even causing Penn to be denied operating licenses, the casino sold Barstool back to Portnoy for $1.

By then, Portnoy was a very wealthy man. He has said he took Miss Peaches from “the outhouse to the penthouse” since adopting her. The dog had previously been in “a neglect situation where we noticed she had patches of hair that were missing, itchy skin, and obvious signs of having had multiple litters of puppies,” according to a clip shared on LifeLine’s TikTok account.

Beacon Animal Rescue also was founded in 2003 and is no stranger to Georgia dogs like Miss Peaches, Parker said. The nonprofit, volunteer-based organization has “grown quite a bit,” he added, now offering a full-service veterinary clinic and employing other staff members.

“We rescue animals from high-kill shelters, particularly from down south, where these animals are oftentimes rescued from horrid conditions, and we bring them up north here, make sure that they’re all clear on their medical, we take care of them if they’re injured or ill, we get them back to health and we find loving homes for them,” he said.

In addition to the needed financial support, Parker said the organization has also benefited from the exposure and is grateful to Portnoy for raising awareness of the practice of adopting animals that has had an impact nationally.

“Anybody out there who’s reading this story, consider joining our team of volunteers and donors,” he said. “Or if you can’t make it out here to Beacon, go to another local rescue around you and support them, because there are a lot of animals that need help, and we can definitely help them.”

Contact the reporter, Shay Roddy, at or 609-886-8600, ext. 142.


Shay Roddy is a Delaware County, Pennsylvania native who has always spent as much of his summers as he could at the Jersey Shore. He went to Friends’ Central and is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

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