So…Where Are the Dogs?
reprinted from the Bestfriends.org website
The real victims of Houston’s dog fighting bustBy Ed Fritz, Best Friends staff.
On November 14, one of the largest dog fighting rings in the country was busted in Texas, according to the Houston Chronicle. The individuals facing charges come from all walks of life; from school teachers to oil industry executives to hardened criminals. While many man hours and resources have gone into prosecuting this case to what seems to be the fullest extent of the law, what is missing from the news reports is what has become of the victims? How many resources went into helping these dogs used as pawns by these violent offenders? Chillingly, all reports suggest that all 187 of these dogs have been summarily euthanized, no questions asked.
One group, Love-A-Bull would like to know why rescue organizations were not consulted, if only to save one life - it would have changed the world for that one victim.Desperate attempts were made by rescue groups to get as many dogs as possible to safety. The dogs were placed in custody of the Health Department. Because the Health Department does not house animals, local organizations stepped up. It turns out that the offer to help did not pan out so well for the dogs. These organizations do not adopt out pit bulls, nor do they provide sanctuary.Lydia Zaidman, President of the 501c3 pit bull advocacy organization Love-A-Bull in Austin, Texas is one of those that reached out to offer help with rescuing the confiscated dogs. Lydia was shocked to hear from SPCA spokesperson, Meera Nandlal, that the dogs were “line bred for fighting” and were going to be “humanely euthanized.” According to Zaidman, representatives of the SPCA would not answer more questions or comment any further. She then decided to advocate the best she knew how. She rallied the group and passed the ball to fellow pit bull advocate, Robyn Roberts who got things rolling with her Houston Press blog.
In an article posted on the Animal Law Coalition website, Laura Allen writes that just days after the seizure of the dogs “…a judge awarded custody of dogs seized in Harris County to Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services Dept. Assistant District Attorney Belinda Smith told Animal Law Coalition these dogs have already been euthanized. Harris County animal control also has a policy of not adopting out aggressive dogs.”Nandlal, Public Relations Manager for the Houston SPCA, which took 61 of the dogs, had this to say, “These animals were bred from a long line of fighting dogs to be aggressive. We have made the decision to have them humanely euthanized.”
As Best Friends Animal Society took in 22 of the pit bulls from the infamous Bad Newz Kennels, owned by Atlanta Falcons Quarterback, Michael Vick, I can tell you with first hand experience that dogs that “come from a long line of fighting” do not inherently fight. It appears that even animal care professionals, in this case the Houston SPCA, still need an education on pit bulls.
Dogs from even the worst case scenarios can be rehabilitated and it has been proven by the progress made by the victims of Michael Vick. Some of the rehabilitated canines can even go on to become beloved house pets and therapy dogs! To think that the dogs seized in this raid were given no chances, no attorneys, no reprieve – only euthanasia as their final solution - is unconscionable!
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
1. We urge you to write to the President of the Houston SPCA and ask that they readdress their policy regarding pit bull type dogs.
- Request that in the future, when rescue groups stand up and offer help, that they accept it.
- Request that before decisions of euthanasia are made, reputable animal trainers and behaviorists are invited to fairly evaluate the animal in question.
- Request that the shelter system work towards developing model adoption programs for pit bulls and other bully type breeds.
- Insist that the Houston SPCA live up to their mission statement (from their own website): “The Houston SPCA is committed to accepting all animals in need and giving them a second chance at life.”
Patricia E. Mercer, PresidentHouston SPCA900 Portway Drive Houston, Texas 77024-8022Phone: 713-869-7722
Other contacts for the Houston SPCA
2. If you love pits, support bully friendly organizations such as:• Love-A-Bull • Bad Rap• Animal Farm Foundation• Our Pack
3. Support the victims of dogs rescued from fighting rings. Post your comments on the Houston Press Blog. For more background information and updates on this unprecedented case go to:• Petabuse.com
Posted by Jennifer Hayes, Best Friends staffPhoto credit: dogs pictured were not those seized and were taken by Best Friends photographers