Thursday, January 15, 2009
AnimalSheltering.org is a program of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). In a May/June 2000 magazine article, the program addresses the question of why not placing fighting dogs out for adoptions is the safest and most humane policy for the dogs and members of the community. DogsBite.org strongly agrees with this policy. The article goes as far to say that, "while these animals may seem friendly, all too often they are ticking time bombs."
Other key points the article addresses include: pit bulls (dogs that have been trained to fight) are unpredictable; attacks by pit bulls frequently come without warning; the serious liability the shelter would face if they adopted out a fighting dog that subsequently attacked a person; and the danger a shelter faces for even storing pit bulls -- criminals involved in dogfighting rings break into shelters to steal these dogs and may steal the from families that adopt them as well.
The article comes in response to the difficult question that many shelter groups faced in 2000 and continue to face in 2009: "We don't place dogs who have been used for dogfighting, but a few people are pressuring us about this policy. What should we do?" -- F. B., South Carolina
"Answer: Once dogs have been bred and trained to fight, they may become dangerous at any time in the future, killing or injuring another dog, cat, or even human. The cruel training inflicted upon these animals makes them unpredictable -- and unsuitable for placement into new homes.Related articles:
Understandably, dog lovers who aren't aware of the sad facts of dogfighting may want to make up for the dogs' tragic existence by taking them in and providing them with a better life. The best way to counteract public pressure from these well-meaning folks is to do a little educating. Help people understand that while these animals may seem friendly, all too often they are ticking time bombs.
Pit bulls seized from dogfighting rings are particularly worrisome, notes dog trainer Sue Sternberg, who operates a shelter at her Rondout Valley Kennels in Accord, New York. Attacks by pit bulls frequently come without warning—unlike attacks by other dogs who often growl or bark first. "When a pit bull [is about to attack] he looks friendly and outgoing.... It's not that recognizable," says Sternberg.
Though many shelters do not place pit bulls, others choose to evaluate the animals on a case-by-case basis. If the dog in question is scarred and obviously aggressive, the decision may be fairly simple. The difficulty arises when a shelter takes in a well-mannered stray with questionable scars. Shelter staff may have no idea whether the dog has been used for fighting, making it difficult to evaluate the animal's potential for aggression.
In cases such as these, shelters should always err on the side of caution -- for both humane and practical reasons. Not only can dangerous dogs be deadly; they also present a serious liability concern to shelters. In the event of an attack on an adopter -- or an adopter's neighbor, friend, or relative -- the shelter could be held legally responsible. The publicity that follows an attack could be disastrous to the shelter's reputation and to its ability to promote adoptions of other animals. In addition, criminals involved in dogfighting rings may try to steal adopted fighting dogs.
The results of dogfighting are heartbreaking, and it can be difficult to reject the pleas of potential adopters who have fallen in love with a seemingly friendly ex-fighter; to prevent such heartbreak, sheltered fighting dogs should be kept out of sight of the public. Unfortunately, euthanasia is the only responsible option for almost every animal rescued from this brutal bloodsport. When the plight of these animals upsets the citizens in your community, let them know that you are equally devastated. Explain to them that your policies are based on concern for the well-being and safety of everyone, including the animal. Remind people that when a shelter makes animals available for adoption, the staff must make every effort to protect both the animals and the public.
By taking the time to explain the reasons behind your policy, you can help potential adopters understand that the dangers involved in adopting out fighting dogs far outweigh the possible benefits -- and you can also encourage people to adopt other dogs in need of loving homes."
09/08/08: Each Humane Society is a Separate and Distinct Organization
11/03/08: Flashback: Best Friends Animal Sanctuary Refuses Care of Pit Bulls
06/02/08: ASPCA Pushing Pit Bull Adoption: Adopt-A-Bull Contest
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| 1/15/2009 11:01 AM |
I'd like to make one more comment on the ethical issues surrounding breeding and ownership of dogs created to kill other dogs.
This country is now in the midst of a humane crisis the likes of which we haven't seen in decades. The economic downturn that has devastated families and communities has resulted in an untold number of cats and dogs being abandoned. The foreclosure crisis has flooded shelters with animals whose owners can no longer care for them. Because of the increased number of limited admission shelters, (euphemistically called "no kill"), many shelters cannot accept the majority of animals brought in, so these dogs and cats are being abandoned in the streets.
How do humane organizations justify the amount of resources being spent on programs promoting the adoption of pit bulls, while so many highly adoptable dogs are euthanized for lack of space? Why don't these organizations concede that there are far too many pit bulls, and support mandatory spay and neuter of them? With resources so limited, and dogs being abandoned in the street, how can anyone justify the glut of pit bulls flooding shelters without admitting that something needs to be done?
My second point is this....the damage a pit bull can do to another dog is devastating. My friend the dog walker pointed out, after telling me about a client whose dog required over $3000.00 worth of surgery after a pit bull attack, that if her dog were ever attacked and injured that badly, she would not have the money to pay the vet bills. How many families who are struggling financially might be faced with euthanizing a beloved family dog because they cannot afford the vet bills that result when the neighbors pitbull gets loose "just once"? How many people on fixed incomes will not be able to afford medical treatment when they are badly bitten while trying to save their dog from a pit bull attack?
With the millions of highly adoptable dogs flooding shelters today, there is no moral or ethical reason why this country should continue to allow the breeding of dogs whose only real purpose is bloodsport. There is no benefit to society to allow this to continue, and the risks posed by allowing these dogs in our communities has proved to be too great. We need to send a message loud and clear to our elected officials....stop listening to the for-profit breeder lobby, and start protecting citizens and their pets.
| 1/15/2009 3:32 PM |
Dog fighters and dog fighter breeders are trying to push Best Friends and Nathan Winograd to declare that fighting dogs are ok.
I think it's along the lines of, if we all make believe these dogs don't have problems, then dog fighting isn't so bad is it? And dog fighters can GET THEIR DOGS BACK or shuffle them off to other fighters after they get busted, thanks to some dimwitted "rescue" that takes them in and places them
I can't believe that Best Friends is so desperate for donations and followers that they will take the bait, but they have, and are doing the dog fighters bidding.
They are telling the naive souls that follow them to go out and put fighting dogs in families.
It is a terrible thing to do.
| 1/15/2009 3:56 PM |
Here's a story to make your blood boil;
The dog that attacked the little girl, who was saved by the boy who put it in a choke hold? Its been given away to a pit bull lover, who saw its picture in the paper and just "fell in love with it".
I suppose it would be much harder to "fall in love" with one of the millions of dogs languishing in shelters who haven't attacked a child and her small dog, huh? Can you just imagine what kind of sociopath reads an article in the paper about a dog attacking a child, and says to himself, "I just HAVE to have that dog!"
And animal control GAVE the dog to this lunatic! These people have some sort of sick fetish over these animals. If you love pit bulls so much, and want to rescue one, why not find one that HASN'T attacked a child or other dog? This breed is a magnet for social misfits and degenerates.
| 1/15/2009 6:09 PM |
"Attacks by pit bulls frequently come without warning—unlike attacks by other dogs who often growl or bark first. "When a pit bull [is about to attack] he looks friendly and outgoing.... It's not that recognizable," says Sternberg"
We see this in witness account after witness account of pit bull attacks. Witnesses and victims describe the behavior just like this.
Also, Sue Sternberg has received threats, including death threats, from No Kill fanatics and aggressive dog breeders because she advocates behavior testing before placement, and won't place dogs that bite.
I have seen forums where these wackos directly have threatened her.
| 1/15/2009 6:13 PM |
"criminals involved in dogfighting rings may try to steal adopted fighting dogs.
In some of these No Kill shelters, they are HANDING THE PIT BULLS OUT TO DOG FIGHTERS, with no questions asked and unaltered
This was happening at the Philadelphia PACCA animal control that Nathan Winograd took over and set up to be No Kill (with a Best Friends affiliated director that he hand-picked.)
PACCA got fired, but Winograd and his fanatics are trying to sue the state and FORCE them to do things like hand out aggressive dogs.
| 1/06/2010 2:07 PM |
My child spends alot of time in hospitals for health reasons. I would not allow a "rehabed" pitt to enter her room. The hospitals shouldn't allow them either. "Handbag" pups- ok, they don't rearrange your life when they bite. Shelters should put down pitts.