February 20, 2014
Warning: This post has graphic descriptions and images of dogs in poor condition. Puppy Dog Tales does not have many of these, but I thought it important for people to realize that some dogs are not as lucky as our own loved ones. Our first line of defense where we can help is our local (and national) animal rescue shelters.
Second Biggest Dog Fighting Bust in US History
“One dog had been vomiting and then scrounging on the remains to get enough energy to stand. Others were staked to the ground by heavy chains, unprotected from the searing Southern heat.”
These were the words of Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, reporting the sight that met his eyes on the morning of Friday, August 23, 2013. After three years of careful investigation by the Humane Society and other animal welfare organizations, plus various law enforcement personnel from different areas and levels of jurisdiction, the time was ripe for what is believed to be the second largest dog fighting ring bust in the history of the USA. (The first involved the rescue of 500 dogs in 2008.)
At 13 different locations spanning several states, the Humane Society and other animal welfare groups assisted law enforcement (including the FBI, county SWAT teams, the U.S. Attorney for central Alabama, the Auburn, Georgia, police department, and a county sheriff’s office) with the rescue of 367 pit bulls in Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.
“Their [The dogs’] faces and forelimbs only begin to tell the story of what life must have been like until now, with scars that serve as permanent reminders of days spent in bloody pits — fighting for what little life they had — at the hands of people who used them for entertainment and profit in a barbaric enterprise,” Pacelle reported.
The Torturous Life of a Fighting Dog
“Most [of the dogs] were chained nose-to-nose to their neighbors to ensure continuous [aggressive] arousal,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations & Response Team, as he surveyed the properties where the dogs were being rescued.
Rickey reflected on the terrible life of a fighting dog:
“This cycle begins with being chained at such an early age with little to no positive human or animal interaction. The burden continues with heavy chains, often with additional weights, to drag around their entire lives. The constant noise, arousal and anxiousness push them towards aggression to or from their yard mates. If they don’t respond, their life may end quickly, but if they do, they have sealed their fate of a long, torturous life.”
Happy, Happy Sheriff
The raid was a huge victory for animal lovers around the world. Because of the careful preparation of the various agencies, enough documented evidence was collected to make sure of arrest and probable conviction of the organizers and operators of these dog fighting rings. As Sheriff Dave Sutton of Coffee County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office put it, “This is one sheriff that’s happy, happy, happy.”
Dog Fighting in Canada
Cruelty is not restricted to the United States, as many of us are well aware. A Nova Scotia woman who cares for injured dogs says organized fighting rings exist in the Halifax area and thousands of dollars can change hands during the secret fights.
Gail, whose last name is being withheld to protect her identity, says people concerned about the welfare of the dogs go to fights under the guise of willing spectators, then seize the animals and bring them to her.
“I’ve had dogs come in with legs hanging off, half their face gone. You name it, it’s been done,” she told CBC News.
Gail said that over the past five years, she has rehabilitated 47 dogs from fights and adopted them out.
Animal Rescue Shelters
Our first line of defense against the cruelty against dogs is most often our local veterinarian and/or our local animal rescue shelter. Some vets will repair injured pets for reduced charges or even nothing. In very small places, these vets don’t even get any publicity. These vets and volunteers at animal rescue shelters are willing to do what most of us don’t have the time, money, resources, or resolve to do, i.e., look out for the welfare of abandoned, lost, and abused animals.
I know most of the world has never even heard of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan, but I’d like to give a shout out to our local heroes because they deserve it:
Our local animal shelter:
Our local veterinarian clinics:
- Prairie East Veterinary Clinic, Langenburg, SK
- Dr. Audrey Tataryn
- Dr. Kent Weir (long-time doctor for Oreo, Ling Ling, and Tilly Tot)
- Twin Valley Veterinary Services, Esterhazy, SK
- Dr. Justin Noble
Even Angels Need Help
The animal rescue volunteers need our help. Unlike bigger organizations such as the American Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and its Canadian counterpart, they do not have large marketing firms to make the public aware of their needs in order to help animals…they have to rely on themselves.
It’s very effective to start donating at the local level, especially the shelters that organize fund-raising events to help donors make their donations and have fun at the same time. In order to pay for such things as pet food, vet services, spaying/ neutering, new shelters, and all the other expenses that come with looking after stray pets, our particular Angels have held dances, raffles, barbecues, calendar sales, craft sales, coat check/bar tending services at local events, and have also offered memberships.
So, helping out is made easy. You can: consider hiring your local animal rescue for services at your next local event, buy a membership, make a donation, become a foster family for dogs until their forever parents are found, spread the word, volunteer at an event.
How about your local angels? Would you like to give a shout out to the animal rescue heroes and vets in your area? We’d love to hear what’s happening in your area re rescuing the abused canine and feline citizens of our world.
Just enter a comment at the bottom of this post
where it obligingly says, “Leave a Comment.”
(Next week watch for “38 Benefits of Owning a Dog”)
Note: A number of trials of the gods have hit Puppy Dog Tales recently, including the mysterious disappearance of the article scheduled for this week. I finally substituted the current article, which had been scheduled for a later date. Since it’s a late-show, I’m going to leave it in for next week as well. Therefore “38 Benefits of Owning a Dog” will appear on March 1, 2014.
Copyright © 2013 by
Sandra Bell Kirchman
All rights reserved.