Thursday, July 30, 2009

No "Feel Good" Stories Here....(News)

The Humane Society of Missouri has issued an urgent call for help from rescue groups; animal behavior experts will soon begin assessing the more than 500 dogs seized from dogfighting operations across seven states.

So far, the humane society has heard from just over a dozen rescue groups willing to find homes for one or two dogs, but said more are needed. Animal groups say they haven’t had a crisis response of this magnitude since thousands of pets were dislocated in Hurricane Katrina.

“We’re going to need a whole lot of new friends to help the animals in this case,” said Debbie Hill, the Humane Society of Missouri’s vice president. “There are so many more in this unprecedented raid.”

The pit bulls’ seizure comes as U.S. shelters are inundated with abandoned dogs and cats, 3.7 million of which are euthanized each year because they can’t find homes.
The teams will analyze the dogs’ demeanor and spirit — are they aggressive, traumatized, shy or confident? Can they be socialized and trained, or are they too broken to repair? The Humane Society of Missouri will report the findings to the federal courts, which have the final say. Until then, the Missouri and Illinois dogs are being sheltered in St. Louis.

Few U.S. rescue groups are educated, committed and resourceful enough to take more than a handful of dogs, said Hill, who wants the best possible rescue groups, not the hobbyist who likes the pit bull breed, or a group inexperienced with fighting dogs.

Personal Comment: The above article from Times Union provides a tiny glimpse into the impact of dog fighting on our nation's animal shelters.

While most fighting pitbulls never make it to shelters (They either die in the fight rings or are maliciously killed by their owners) those confiscated in raids do end up in shelters, often to be "held" for periods of weeks or even months.

This results in countless other more "adoptable" dogs being killed for simple lack of cage space.

Moreover, even for those rare and "happy" stories of fighting pit bulls being rehabilitated and later adopted out, they too occur at the cost of other dogs lives.

For example, most of Michael Vick's dogs were rescued by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary with Vick forced to pick up the tab for their care and rehabilitation.

The 30 or so dogs required many months of work with special animal behaviorists, trainers and veterinery experts. One can only imagine the final costs for this venture.

While it sends an important message that fighting dogs CAN be rehabilitated and go on to make wonderful, loving pets (and in one case, even a therapy dog!) one has to wonder how many "regular" (non-fighting) dogs such monies and effort could have otherwise saved? Certainly, many more than 30.

The bottom line is that there are truly no "feel good stories" when the issue is dog fighting and its victims.

You see, the true victims of dog fighting are not just the pitbulls in the rings, but the communities where these atrocities occur, local animal shelters, overburdened rescues, overtaxed taxpayers (who pay for animal control) and quite literally, millions of other dogs -- like the one pictured above. -- PCA

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