This past July, the ASPCA assisted in collecting forensic evidence and conducting behavior evaluations of rescued dogs in a federal and multi-state investigation that led to one of the toughest crackdowns on dog fighting in U.S. history. Raids were conducted on various dog fighting operations in eight states and resulted in the rescue of more than 500 dogs.
Now, after months of rehabilitation, many of the rescued dogs are seeing a miraculous change in lifestyle.
Evaluated over the summer by a team of animal behaviorists, including four ASPCA staffers, most of the dogs are absolute gems with people, and quite a number are also good with other dogs.
Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center, Dr. Pamela Reid, who was a member of the behavior evaluations team, says, “We found the dogs to be true to Pit Bull reputation─they were extremely friendly with people. Most greeted us with wagging tails and smiling eyes, and while some were aggressive with other dogs, as would be expected from their history, about two-thirds of the adults and most of the puppies did not test as aggressive. With socialization and training, many of these dogs may well turn out to be excellent pets and companions.”
Check out the following pooches, who after surviving painful lives of dog fighting are not only ready to become loving companions, but will use their stories to inspire others.
JOMP urges everyone to speak up if you know about, hear about, witness or even suspect any type of neglect or abuse to animals or or humans. It is all related!!
On Wednesday, July 8, the ASPCA began assisting federal and state agencies in what is believed to be the largest crackdown on dog fighting in U.S. history. The raid spans eight states so far—Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Mississippi. Arrests have been made in all eight states.
Nearly 400 rescued dogs were safely transported to a secure facility under the direction of the Humane Society of Missouri’s (HSMO) Animal Cruelty Task Force, where they will be cared for until final disposition is determined by the U.S. District Court.
“The ASPCA is determined to protect the nation’s pets from dog fighting and other forms of brutality,” says ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “Animal cruelty cannot be tolerated, and we are proud to lend our support to federal and local agencies to ensure that these abusers are brought to justice.”
At the request of HSMO, the ASPCA is lending the services of its special forensic cruelty investigation team—including disaster animal rescuers, field service investigators and Dr. Melinda Merck, the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian—to collect evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case. The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit, outfitted with medical equipment tailored specifically for animal patients, is also on hand.
The ASPCA will also eventually assist in behavior evaluations of the dogs.
Dog fighting is banned throughout the United States and is a felony in all 50 states. If convicted of animal fighting charges, those arrested each face up to five years in prison.
Your support makes it possible for the ASPCA to rescue animals from this horrendous life. Your generosity allows our experts to collect the evidence needed to build cases against and prosecute animal cruelty offenders.
Posted: Just One More Pet
On Monday, June 1, a dog fighting operation in Randolph County, AL, was raided by the state’s 5th Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force. The ASPCA dispatched forensic veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck and our Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit to collect evidence in the investigation and aid in the prosecution of the case.
Dr. Merck examined 45 dogs who were discovered tied to heavy chains and living in deplorable conditions on two properties. She also examined partially buried skeletal remains of a dog found on site. In addition, controlled substances, illicit drugs and other paraphernalia related to dog fighting have been collected into evidence.
“These dogs definitely suffered abuse and inhumane treatment at the hands of dog fighters,” says Dr. Merck, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA. “So far, we’ve seen that one is unable to walk, another who is limping, and many who are injured, some severely.”
As a result of ASPCA participation, two suspects have been formally charged. William Alsabrook was charged with two counts of possession of dogs for fighting, and Artis Kyle was charged with one count of possession of dogs for fighting, two counts of possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of drug paraphernalia and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Posted: Just One More Pet
Careful – you might get cuddled to death by this sweetie Photo: BestFriends.org
In a reversal of their decades-old stance, the Humane Society of the United States has reportedly decided on a new interim policy that all dogs seized from fighting operations should now be evaluated for their suitability for adoption on a case-by-case basis. This is a reversal of longstanding HSUS policy that any dog impounded from a fighting situation was inherently too dangerous to be safely placed in a home and should therefore be killed by authorities as soon as legally permissible.
[Author’s note: Though it is common practice to refer to such government-sanctioned killings of animals as “euthanasia,” the Merriam-Webster definition of euthanasia is “the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy,” hence the term cannot truthfully be used to describe the killing of healthy animals who have not yet been determined to be irreversibly aggressive.]
Former Vick fighting dog Leo takes his job as a therapy dog very seriously Photo: msnbc.com
The announcement of this change in policy came from the Best Friends Animal Society website, and has yet to appear on the HSUS website as of this writing. A call to the Washington office of the HSUS was not returned.
The reversal comes in the wake of the recent killing of 146 pit bulls who were seized at or born after a raid on a fighting dog operation in Wilkes County, North Carolina. Seventy of the dogs killed were puppies; nineteen of whom were born after the seizure had taken place. The killings were ordered by Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. after testimony from local animal control officials and two representatives of the HSUS. According the Best Friends website, Judge Wilson ordered that the dogs be killed “without evaluation to determine suitability for placement.”
Scarred ex-fighter, now therapy dog Hector snuggles with new mom Leslie Nuccio Photo: Eric Risberg/AP
Prior to this incident, the Humane Society of the United States’ policy on fighting dogs came under public fire during the Michael Vick case, when HSUS representatives advocated the killing of all dogs seized from Vick’s “Bad Newz Kennels.” Subsequent case-by-case evaluations ordered by Judge Henry Hudson revealed that only one dog was too aggressive to be safely placed with a rescue. That dog was euthanized, another was euthanized due to severe health problems, and the rest were sent to rescues around the country. Subsequently at least two of these dogs, Leo and Hector, who were considered experienced fighters due to their scars, have gone on to become therapy dogs who visit and comfort patients in hospitals.
I would like to note that I am a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States. They have done unsurpassed work over decades to increase public awareness of cruelty to animals, including exposing the issue of puppy mills; their groundbreaking work in helping to pass Prop. 2 in California, which is an important first step in decreasing cruel farming practices; and their unparalleled work in exposing shocking cruelty to downed dairy cows headed for slaughter at the now-defunct Hallmark/Westland meat packing company, which led to the nation’s largest-ever beef recall.
Their stance on fighting dogs, however, has been uncharacteristically rigid and inhumane and I am extremely glad that although it took the senseless, indiscriminate deaths of 146 dogs, HSUS is starting to reexamine their policy in this matter and the injustice of judging and condemning any creature without knowing them personally.
By: Kate Woodviolet
Source: Examiner.com – LA Pet Rescue Examiner
Posted By: Ask Marion – Just One More Pet
Heard a great update today… It seems that all but two of the dogs removed from Michael Vick’s dog fighting compound have been rescued and placed. I just caught the tail end of coverage today as I was walking by my TV… I believe it was on Entertainment Tonight. It is a great ending to a tragic situation for all but two of theses dogs, mostly pit bulls. One has even been trained for pet therapy.
Usually in dog fighting ring situations like this, the dogs are all destroyed, but because of the media focus on this particular story, the ASPCA stepped in…. “I thought, if we see four or five dogs that we can save, I’ll be happy,” said Randy Lockwood, an animal behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “If we had to euthanize the majority, then we could at least say we’d tried.”
Let us hope that we all learned something from this situation and that it not only will change laws and awareness but also the realization by in most cases, this dogs who are victims and have already led horrible lives can be saved. See related article below:
Saving Michael Vick’s Dogs
Pit Bulls Rescued From the Football Player’s Fighting Ring Show Progress in an Unprecedented Rehabilitation Effort
When football superstar Michael Vick pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to run a dogfighting operation, we knew he had kept about 50 pit bulls on his 15-acre property in rural Surry County, Va., on a road named Moonlight. We knew the dogs were chained to car axles near wooden hovels for shelter. And we knew the dogs that didn’t fight were beaten, shot, hanged, electrocuted or drowned. For rest of this story…