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« Removing Psychological Barriers | Main | The Irony of Timing »

February 17, 2009



This is a question I don't have the answer to, but are all dogs rehabilitate-able? And if they are, is it worth the time and expense? And is it ethical to release an animal that was bred and trained to fight, even if rehab'd into a pet home?

I don't believe in life at all costs, even in the human world. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

I see you're asking the same question here, with a plea to at least make an evaluation instead of a blanket ruling. Fair enough.

But the main problem I see is that (1) there is a glut of bully breeds on the market and in shelters already. (2) These dogs are from fight breeders, this is not a good thing, this does not make for good pets, this does not make for good training or socialization or anything. (3) Just because you like the breed in other circumstances shouldn't carry over into lobbying for these dogs.

For instance, I am disgusted by the English Shepherd breeder in Montana and the condition of her hundreds of dogs. But I don't particularly find any value in the effort to save all of them and find them homes. Sure, you're "saving" a life. But in the light of day, that life is still an inferior product with poor breeding and a huge price tag in man hours, volunteer time, vet bills, rehab, training, etc.

All that effort might reward the crusader ego, but it does nothing to encourage or reward good breeding of quality dogs.

I believe in No Kill because the current system is wasteful and unnecessarily kill happy. I don't believe that every dog produced need to live a long and happy life, especially when the producers are making inbred messes or fighting machines.



The questions you ask are fair. The thing is, we don't even know if any of this dogs would need rehab -- or how much they'd need -- because they were never really evaluated. That's all anyone is asking, is why not actually evaluate them to find out.

While certainly it wouldn't make sense for most rescues to take in long-rehab projects. However, there are some it makes complete sense for. Best Friends has nearly infinite space and time for rehabbing dogs. BAD RAP, who is more focused on relatively low number of adoptions, but making sure they have high-quality fosters and adoptive homes -- both are perfect for this type of project. Who is HSUS to say -- without even doing evaluations -- what dogs are ideal for these organizations' programs?

We need to abandon the idea that all of the dogs need to be killed based on what type of dogs they are and where they come from --- and make the focus on saving first, with killing as the last resort. Not the first.


You don't believe in No Kill Christopher.... just saying it doesn't make it true as everything you say before and after that statement is just the opposite.

The attitude of "those dogs aren't worth it" is the SAME attitude that allows people to vote in BSL. Esp when you tack on the "they're bred to fight" propaganda...

This doesn't mean I think every single dog should be saved by any means...but if the "advocates" are promoting "they aren't worth it" how are we supposed to fight this battle with the GP?

The sad part is at the end of the day, no one pays attention to all the bullies that are pulled out of the shelter everyday. But the world takes notice when cases like Vick prove everyone wrong.


Just by comparison, no one suggested that the English shepherd victims of horrific abuse should be killed.

Instead, they were all lovingly cared for and expertly evaluated, with a plan to "rehabilitate" those that need it.

But pit bulls that are victims of abuse? Kill 'em!


My problem isn't with humanely putting to death dogs that are too messed up either health- or temperamentwise to have a good life.

It's with a self-styled 'humane' society that is actually an animal liberation group routinely killing dogs en masse or calling for their deaths, strictly because of their shape. I'm also not a fan of fundraising for the same dogs you want dead, but that's another issue.

The 'bred to fight' theme must end. You can't breed dogs to fight. You can only train and condition dogs with certain qualities to fight - and not too many of those, either, which is why the morons who think this is a 'sport' spend so much money on likely candidates and gamble so much on the outcomes of these barbaric 'contests'.

I think there's enough proof out there to contradict these kinds of myths by now. If not, you can always trip over to PubMed and start looking for evidence for the belief.

Good luck with that.

It's because the dogs are 'pit bulls' that nobody cares. At least, people need to be honest about that. As somebody pointed out, why doesn't the HSUS call for the deaths of 'puppy milled' dogs? They are in worse shape than the majority of fight bust dogs.

Why did all the dogs in two recent 'fighting' busts get killed before the cases even came to court - where both owners were exonerated of all charges?

Because it fits with the agenda. Let's kill all the 'pit bulls'.


WILKESBORO - Wilkes County Animal Control destroyed 146 pit bulls yesterday, following an order issued Monday by Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. The dogs were associated with Wildside Kennels, whose owner, Ed Faron, 61, was convicted last week of 14 felony counts of dog fighting.
Authorities seized 127 of the dogs in a raid on Faron's property on Dec. 10, 2008. The rest of the dogs have been born since the raid. The county had acknowledged that some litters had been born, but yesterday was the first time the county released the actual number of dogs involved.
According to the judge's ruling, state law defines dogs as dangerous if they are involved in a dog fighting operation and a county ordinance requires that dangerous dogs be destroyed. Authorities said that Faron bred and sold fighting dogs.
The raid was the result of a 3-year investigation by The Humane Society of the U.S., in cooperation with Wilkes County Animal Control and the Wilkes County Sheriff's Office. Representatives of The Humane Society told the judge that the dogs should be destroyed, because they had been bred for generations to be aggressive.
A number of animal rescue groups had offered to place the dogs, but none of their representatives were at Monday's hearing when the judge was considering what should happen to the dogs.


I don't understand why "we" are so comfortable with breeding dogs to "work" but the idea that dogs are bred to fight is taboo and doesn't happen.

There are physical and mental aspects that are in these dogs and you can't train it away and you can't train it out of the genes.

Dog fighters don't breed dogs to be long lived, loving and stable pets. And by all accounts the rest of you have posted about how hard it is and rare it is to find a breeder who is doing a good job of that with other breeds. Why should we believe that some thugs are doing it well with dogs that they breed and train to attack each other?

It is a truth that breeding dogs to be big, powerful, and vicious is one of the oldest reasons we've bred them. And you can breed viciousness... just look at the fawn Cocker spaniel. And that wasn't even intentional.

But seriously, just because society at large doesn't approve of sicking dogs on humans, bulls, or each other doesn't mean that our changing attitudes magically remove the decades, if not centuries, of breeding for traits we now despise and even fear.

Attacking other animals is a natural part of wolves and those genes are alive in our dogs. We hone different aspects of them in our retrievers and our shepherds... and yes, in the dogs that were created to harass other animals.

All that being said, I don't believe BSL solves anything. Just like I don't believe that gun control legislation solves anything. If the private sector wants to take these dogs and work with them, by all means they should be allowed to.

While there are perhaps some problems with that, say dogs that should be killed being allowed to live and placed in homes where they would be a liability simply because the "rescue" group believes in life above all... but hey, the private sector can solve that problem too. Home dangerous dogs and get sued instead of arrested.

And as for No Kill, no, I'm not a Vegan. I don't believe in life at all costs and don't put down unwanted dogs... I believe that the current system is pathetic, inefficient, and cruel.

From reading Winograd's book, I didn't see anything that said No Kill's goal was 0% dead dogs or that no dog must ever be killed. I read that no dog should be killed because of all the BS reasons they are killed for now... to "make space" where plenty of space already exists, to lessen work loads on employees, because the shelters don't do the work they need to, because of preconceptions about which breeds will be adopted and which won't, etc. etc. etc.

You might be a Vegan-No-Killer but that's not my motivation at all.

And I don't believe in being dishonest about Pit Bulls simply because showing distention in the ranks might make the whole lot of us more vulnerable to the wack jobs. Progress is made by confronting reality, not in denying it.


Christopher, you don't know much about 'pit bulls'.

Reality is, you can't 'breed' dogs to fight. Reality is, the vast majority of all dogs make great pets. Reality is, you can train dogs to do anything - and untrain them. Reality is, these so-called 'dangerous' types do better in temperament tests than most so-called 'friendly' breeds.

You might know a bit about Border Collies but you don't know Jack about 'pit bulls' - which aren't a breed by the way, they're a type.


"Pit bull" may be a type, and a pretty generic one at that, which is confused with many other "types" and mixes.

But the American Pit Bull Terrier is not a "type'. It is a purebred like its purebred English predecessor the Staffordshire Bull Terrier ... and indeed its cousin the Bull Terrier and its descendent the Boston (bull) Terrier not to mention its shadow, the American Staffordshire Terrier. All of which are breeds that were originally used/bred... more than any other breed in the UK and USA... to fight other dogs in a pit. It's not a coincidence that the two bullbreeds that have been bred furthest from their original appearance and function are so physically malformed that they can barely move and breathe at the same time and/or are so psychologically deranged that they routinely go insane. But hey, they're not "dangerous" like those "vicious" pit bulls.

Some people are uncomfortable with the actual fighting history of the bull and terrier breeds, and some people believe that the APBT's fighting ability and nature came from selecting individual dog-aggressive dogs and conditioning/training/encouraging them to fight, that there was/is no genetic selection for this trait and that it does not exist.

I guess there was also no selection for dogs that would never redirect onto humans and "pit bulls" just happen to accidentally consistently display an incredible love/devotion to people even when abused by them. But that can't be a breed trait because we haven't found the "love" gene! [snark]

But this is a debate that really has no relevance to the issue of whether or not any particular dog should be killed at the instigation of a so called "humane" society. If there is anything that the Vick dog stories and publicity should have taught everyone is that even dogs bred/trained/conditioned (whatever you want to call it) to fight are NOT therefore inherently vicious and dangerous. Hector and Leo are among the few Vick dogs that clearly were fighters. Leo became a therapy dog almost immediately, and Hector has just been certified.

Those dogs aren't dangerous to society.. the HSUS surely is.


I don't believe breeding a dog to do a task is perfect, especially with many years of lineage. This is where I believe this whole "bred to fight" debate is flawed. With that said, are there pit bulls that are bred to fight? I think so along with other breeds bred for desirable/undesirable traits. Does this mean they will fight or carry out the desirable/undesirable trait? No. If this were a yes, Marley and Me would have never been written. Labs were once known to be a perfect family pet that would grow out of energy overabundance issues. Marley never did, nor do many other labs.

Killing dogs because they were bred to fight is not right. What is right? Conducting an in depth temperament test and going through appropriate next steps based on findings, no matter who bred them. This takes breed out of the equation and brings in what the dog really is, which is much more accurate around whether the dog is bred to fight or not.

Brian Cluxton

No one is claiming that all 127 dogs in the N.C. could have gone on to be great pets. That's highly unlikely, just like some of the Vick dogs were not suitable for rehabilitation. But even if only 5-10 of the 127 would have been found suitable, it would be worth the effort. But to not even attempt to evaluate the dogs individually for temperament, overall health and other traits that could make them good pets and worthy of saving is unconscionable. And that's the big problem I have with HSUS's actions while at the same time they raise money claiming that they are helping the dogs involved in dog fighting. Immediate death sentence is no one's definition of helping.


Christopher said: "From reading Winograd's book, I didn't see anything that said No Kill's goal was 0% dead dogs or that no dog must ever be killed. I read that no dog should be killed because of all the BS reasons they are killed for now... to "make space" where plenty of space already exists, to lessen work loads on employees, because the shelters don't do the work they need to, because of preconceptions about which breeds will be adopted and which won't, etc. etc. etc."

I think you can throw "arbitrarly deemed dangerous" in that category of BS reasons that dogs are killed now.

At no point does Winograd say that aggressive animals should be adopted out...but arbitrarily deeming a dog aggressive without any type of temperament evaluation certainly seems like a BS reason to me.


Please read this...Winograd absolutely supports rehabilitation.

And don't confuse reality with PERCEPTION. There is NO evidence that all of these dogs were dangerous - none. Statistically speaking its IMPOSSIBLE that they were all dangerous.

Geez, how many fight bust dogs have to prove the world wrong before we end this debate?


I would have liked for the Judge to have sentenced Ed Faron to 127 months in federal prison without early release for any circumstance. That's a good long sentence if you can not give the guy 127 years or something.

The comments made by Christopher are disturbing to me. I surely hope that he is not in charge of any decision making in the life or death of animals. Narrow and dangerous.

John Keene

Once again you are a voice of reason. So many blogs I have been reading fail to realize that the judge in this case had no choice.

I agree that HSUS was on the wrong side of this issue. And in a case where testimony, on either side, didn't make a difference this is a huge PR gaff on their part.

But then again, there is no such thing as bad publicity right?

Also thank you for directing people's outrage at changing the law in NC that pre-determined the fate of these dogs.

Regan hauschen

H$U$ is not a good sourse to say one way or the other, they are all about money and are a vagen group that don't want anyone to own animals what so ever!!!

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