Not long ago, dogs rescued out of fighting situations were euthanized, by default. It was thought they were too dangerous and too damaged to live safely and happily out in the world. However, there are many different opinions about what to do with the dogs. Some probably think that one cannot help the dogs any more and they should be put down. Others are firmly convinced that the abused dogs deserve a second chance – that they can be rehabilitated and that they deserve as much love as other dogs.
A special Pit Bull called Rescue is the best proof of it. The two-year-old dog has a dogfighting background. He vegetated in a dog sanctuary and was afraid of all the noise and people around him. Then a woman took the time to stop and interact with Rescue. As she approached his cage, he whimpered in fear and turned his head away. She spoke well to him in a gentle, sweet way until he finally began to wag his tail.
Finally, the woman reached through the bars. Rescue crawled in her direction and sniffed her hand. She started stroking his head and face and Rescues tail wiggled back and forth. Soon he leaned his head in her direction, pressed against the bars and gave her more and more affection and attention. Rescues story has a happy ending. He was adopted from the shelter and his new owners give him all the love in the world.
This makes me remember a Pitbull rescued story from Bark Nation, one of the rescue groups can go at their pace and teach them what the world is. In 2017, there was the moment that many Pitbulls change from a dog bred into dogfighting to a pet when authorities found 32 dogs chained in the backyard of a Kalamazoo, Michigan, home. The pit bulls were covered in wounds and scars — and a ring with fighting paraphernalia was discovered in the basement of the home.
Since then, officers have raided multiple other properties connected to the offenders and the suspects face multiple felony charges. A total of 52 dogs were seized — and as their former owners continue to be prosecuted, the dogs are being transferred to experienced rescue organizations through Bark Nation. The bulk of them are around 1 to 2 years old and are just happy, healthy goofball dogs and all they want is to play in the yard, lick your face and cuddle. Despite everything, they know how to love.
Because most of them were bred into fighting, they simply don’t know what it’s like to be a normal dog. Many of them now show common signs of dogfighting — like scars, broken teeth and low body weight, alongside typical nervousness from never being in a traditional home environment. They after that had new collars, new names and are learning how to play with toys and have fun.
This is a far cry from the fate of many dogfighting survivors, who, under Michigan law, must be euthanized if a behavioral evaluation deems them unfit for a home. In some cases, fearful dogs in need of rehabilitation may be put down.
Kelly McLaughlin from Bark Nation said: “The grand majority of survivors can be successfully rehabilitated, but they need to be given the opportunity to do so, not be put to death because of what they’re born into.”
“They might be American pit bull terriers, but they just want to live their lives and be happy like us. It’s our duty to have life-saving avenues for them while we fight to end dogfighting.”
Animal fighting has become a growing concern in the United States. Last year, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) assisted in rescuing more than 4,500 animals from dogfighting and cockfighting cases, Jessica Rushin, senior manager of Partnerships for ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, told NBC News.
“Animal fighting is one of the most heinous forms of animal cruelty, and sadly it is far more common in the United States than many people realize,” she said in a statement. “To betray animals by forcing them to fight for their lives for so-called entertainment is despicable.”