Attacks Indicate Deeper Problems
Spokane, WA - The City of Spokane is located 280 miles east of Seattle with a population of about 200,000 thousand. In the last six weeks, there have been 2 serious pit bull attacks in the city and two instances of dogfighting activity. It's fair to say that Spokane is having a pit bull problem that involves the usual suspects: dog owners, dogfighters, animal control services and rescue agencies.
A few days ago, four people broke into the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Services (SCRAPS) and stole two pit bulls, then returned the next night to steal another for the purposes of dogfighting. Three were arrested during the second theft and charged on two counts each of Second Degree Burglary. A fourth suspect was also arrested; he was only 16 years old.
Last week, the same shelter, announced that 8 pit bulls dubbed the "Great Eight" were ready to be adopted out. (It's unclear if these pit bulls were part of the above theft). The Great Eight were seized in a dogfighting operation a year ago and have been in evidence limbo ever since. Now it seems the phenomenon called "kennel blindness" is at play. SCRAPS can't put the animals to sleep because they've "bonded with them."
Kennel Blindness -- the assumption that potentially dangerous dogs are safe -- frequently occurs to people that house fighting dogs while the criminal trial evolves, which may take up to a year and longer. SCRAPS wants to find long-term placement for these somewhat "rehabilitated" dogs so that they can live out their natural lives, but it is unclear what a natural life of a dog raised for fighting may be.
SCRAPS admits the dogs are not typical dogs.
Patricia Simonet of SCRAPS, who helped evaluate the dogs, said that the dogs are not housebroken and have never lived in a house. "These are not typical dogs," she said. She added that the adults are "dog aggressive" as a result of their past. The worst-case dog, Chewie, and the only male, still exhibits "fear aggression" toward dogs and many people she says. (Do these sound like adoptable dogs?)
It seems these folks have bonded with the dogs in a secure environment and now think it's safe to place them back into the community. Spindletop Refuge in Willis, Texas, initially agreed to take the Great Eight but backed out after they had several dogs returned. Readers, please note that The Great Eight have been returned to SCRAPS once already and they still think it's safe to adopt the dogs out.
In addition to dogfighting and "kennel blindness," there have also been two serious pit bull attacks in Spokane in the past six weeks. One was to a young woman whose fiancée owned the pit bull. The other involved a 21-year old woman who was attacked by a loose pit bull. A quick glance of 2007 shows that two pit bulls killed a racehorse in the area and ripped off a young boy's face.
04/21/08: 21-Year Old Spokane Woman Attacked by Loose Pit Bull
04/17/08: Pit Bull Attack Puts Owner in the Hospital