Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dog Fighting Raid Leads to Nearly 500 Rescues

Last week’s multi-state dog fighting raid, the largest federal and state agency crackdown on dog fighting in U.S. history, has resulted in the rescue of nearly 500 dogs, most of whom are Pit Bulls. At the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO), which is housing more than 400 dogs, 14 puppies were born last week, adding to the overall number of dogs seized.

The operation spanned eight states—Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Nebraska and Mississippi—and news reports indicate that a total of 26 arrests have been made. Because dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states, if convicted of animal fighting charges, those arrested each face up to five years in prison. According to the ASPCA’s Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty Field Services, who was on-site in Missouri, not all dogs seized in raids have been used directly in fights. “Some are breeders—they do not fight, but produce litters of fresh fighters. Others are bait dogs. They lack the bloodlust and so serve as punching bags in training fights. Such dogs often get the worst of it.” Although the task of evaluating all of the seized dogs will be enormous, Dr. Lockwood notes, "At the very least, we're honoring these animals by caring for them.”

The dogs are being sheltered in a secure St. Louis facility under the direction of HSMO’s Animal Cruelty Task Force. Each dog has been examined by a veterinarian and has received an individual medical plan. All have been microchipped and treated for parasites and continue to receive nutritious food, fresh water and a safe place to sleep...ASPCA