In 2009, officials ordered that 127 'pit bulls" be killed after they were seized from a dog fighting bust in North Carolina. Ed Faron was given 8-10 months in prison for his 14 counts of felony dog fighting. His dogs, including many puppies, were sentenced to death. It was certainly a high cost for being a victim.
At the time, HSUS's John Goodwin supported the measure noting that the dogs had been bred for fighting and it was expensive and difficult to "retrain" them. This followed reports that just 30 months earlier, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle recommended that all of the dogs seized from Mike Vick's Bad Newz kennels be killed because they were "the most aggressive dogs they've ever seen." However, after proper evaluations, experts declared that 49 of the 51 dogs would be given an opportunity to live.
This was only 4 years ago -- that scores of dogs were killed, without evaluation, merely for being the victims of someone else's cruelty.
Skip ahead a few months, and Time Magazine featured 500 dogs rescued from a major dog fighting bust in Missouri. The dogs were given the opportunity to live, and the magazine featured the dogs not as vicious dogs that were eager participants, but as victims to human crimes and creatures to be empathized with.
And the trend continues.
A few weeks ago, the ASPCA, HSUS and area authorities broke up yet another dog-fighting ring in the South. The dogs are being held by the ASPCA and being given evaluations and behavioral rehabilitation opportunities. In other words, a chance. CNN's Anderson Cooper covered the story - showing the dogs again as the victims of human cruelty that they are. Broken, but not unsalvagable. It's a really nice report, that you can view here:
It's amazing to see the transformation in how the cruelty victims are being covered and viewed. And it's great to see. Thanks to Cooper and the CNN team for their report.