Friday, February 20, 2009

HSUS SUPPORTS KILLING 146 Pitt Bulls, Incl. 79 Puppies, 19 born after rescue.

Thank you for contacting us regarding a county judge’s decision in North Carolina to euthanize fighting dogs seized from the property of notorious dogfighting kingpin Ed Faron. We understand your concern about the judge’s order to euthanize the dogs, and it is always a tragic outcome when healthy animals meet such a fate. But the blame lies with Mr. Faron, and not with county officials or The Humane Society of the United States. While we may not endorse every action of the county, we are grateful to them for working with The HSUS to bust a man who is responsible for an enormous amount of cruelty to dogs, and to bring him to justice.

No organization has done more to attack and harm the dogfighting industry than The HSUS. We’ve probably invested more in combating dogfighting than all other humane groups combined, and to great effect. We are principally responsible for the strong state and federal laws that make the practice a felony and ban possession and sale of fighting animals, and we have trained thousands of law enforcement personnel on investigating and raiding fighting operations. What’s more, it is our training, investigations, and rewards programs that are resulting in the arrest of countless dogfighters and the seizure of thousands of fighting dogs (which are, according to the dogfighters, an asset they lose upon seizure).

We are involved in dogfighting busts on almost a weekly basis, and the handling of Mr. Faron’s dogs raises the same questions that confound us constantly. With approximately 600,000 pit bulls killed in shelters each year, why should fighting dogs, which obviously require more resources to manage and which pose an obvious threat to other animals, get placed in favor of other equally deserving pit bulls and other breeds slated for euthanasia? In a local jurisdiction that has perhaps hundreds of other pit bulls waiting for loving homes, why not save them in favor of fighting dogs that will cost far more to handle on a per dog basis? How do we solve the larger pit bull problem in the nation, since we have an epidemic of dogfighters and others breeding them for aggression and for uses other than as companions?

We conducted a long-term investigation that led to the arrest of Mr. Faron and the seizure of his fighting dogs. He is considered one of the “Godfathers” of dogfighting, and it was our goal to put him out of business, just as it is our goal to target other industry leaders, in order to prevent thousands of dogs for use in fighting pits. Had it not been for our investigation, most of his dogs would have suffered immensely in a fighting pit in the weeks and months ahead. And who knows how many other dogs he would have bred to face this same fate.

It is now an HSUS policy to recommend an evaluation of all fighting dogs. In this case, The HSUS offered to pay for an additional professional evaluator to assess the dogs, even though we were skeptical that these dogs could be safely rehabilitated. The county did not take us up on that offer. Without an affirmative professional evaluation to indicate that the dogs could be safely placed in a new setting, we could not recommend adoption of these dogs who had been bred for generations for their instinct to kill.

While separate evaluations were not done, it is safe to say Faron’s dogs have been bred to produce animals with an unstoppable desire to fight, even in the face of extreme pain and fear. Professional dogfighters typically “cull” the dogs that don’t exhibit gameness or aggression, and only keep and breed the ones that exhibit the desired traits. For proof of that, we can refer to Faron himself, from his book about dogfighting:
“His face had only just healed from that fight with the Wreckers’ dog and he got his nose chewed half off again, that night.”

“The gamest dog I ever saw in my life was King David. At ten minutes, his right leg was broken. At twenty-three minutes, his left leg was broken. At thirty-seven he scratched on stumps, and at forty-eight minutes when he scratched he scratched down one wall and down the other ….until he got to Beau again.””
“ I mean, he broke muzzles, crushed skulls- we saw him bite dogs in the chest and their chest would literally collapse. That was Beau…”

Game-bred dogs pose a risk to other dogs not just because of training, but more importantly because of breeding for aggressive characteristics. Even no-kill shelters typically recommend euthanasia of obviously dangerous dogs.

These fighting dogs do not compare with the dogs from amateur “street fighters,” who typically take any, random pit bull and try and force them to fight. If pit bulls have not been bred for generations to have a “fight crazy” instinct, even if they have been exposed to dogfighting, they have a chance of being rehabilitated. This is why a substantial number of Michael Vick’s dogs were candidates for rehabilitation, after the court ordered Vick to pay $1 million as a set-aside to provide care and retraining for the dogs.

Once game-bred dogs are confiscated from a fighting situation, there are very few good options. There are no sanctuaries that exist for the thousands of game-bred dogs confiscated each year, and as a nation, there are hundreds of thousands of pit bulls awaiting adoptions in shelters every year. The resources that would be required to confine or rehabilitate fighting dogs could save many more dogs in shelters every year. So, in that sense, it is not a zero-sum game when it comes to euthanasia; it is a negative-sum game, and an inordinate focus on these few pit bulls would result in more euthanasia of other dogs. And if you impose upon rural counties – where most fighting busts occur – the burden of long-term holding of fighting pit bulls, then they may decline to intervene in criminal fighting cases, allowing the dogfighters to continue to operate.
There are tough choices to be made, and the only morally clear act is to attack the dogfighters where they live. We are the only national organization that has an entire unit devoted to this work on a national scale. That’s what we’ll continue to do.

My Reply:

Please I don't need your lies and sorry excuses. Don't you think I'd do my homework before writing to you? Here are some thing's for you to read. MANY of them HSUS stated that they animals were beyond saving. This truly is the lowest of the low. I once had respect for HSUS this is no longer true. If you had sent a letter saying that you had made a mistake and will take better care in new cases I could have said "ok yes I'm still upset but at least they learned and are willing not to write off an animal or 200 just because it takes to much of their time and money".

The deaths of 146 Pitt Bulls, Incl. 79 Puppies, 19 of them born after the rescue "Humane Society, others back the court's decision." Yes, that's right. The same group that garnered attention (and quite possibly donations) for rescuing the dogs officially recommended that all 146, 60 of them puppies, be killed--no individual assessments, no consideration of the likelihood that many of them could be rehabilitated. Just cheap, fast death. For all of them. It's the same recommendation that both the Humane Society of the United States". Was a intro from Animal Law. Did you know that 19 of these were puppies that were born AFTER you so called saved them? Or did you even care?

Best Friends tried to save the dogs. They even offered to pay for the assessments and the spaying and neutering of the adoptable dogs and to work with other rescue groups on the placement of the dogs. And with Best Friends and other rescue organizations having helped as many adult, longtime fighting dogs as they have, why couldn't we have given them a chance to at least perform individual assessments, especially where the puppies were concerned? Why did you let them????

See the following for stories of dogs (and roosters) who have been and are being rehabilitated.
Meet the Rescued Michael Vick Pit Bull Dogs Now (narrated slideshow from Bad Rap; begins with image below)
Vick's Dogs: The Good News Out of the Bad Newz Kennels (Sports Illustrated)
The Vicktory Dogs (Best Friends)
Pit Bulls--The Real Story (Best Friends)
mid-winter blues: all the good news, on (quickly!) rehabilitated fighting roosters, and heartbreak, 39-8=31, on the rescue of those roosters (Invisible Voices)

That "in some cases" part? Because the moment the organization removed those dogs from the dogfighting operation, it did so knowing it would advocate for their deaths. The positions of HSUS and others is that dogs who have been forced into fighting are beyond rehabilitation and that attempted rehabilitation is a misappropriation of resources when there are so many other animals in need. But it has been shown that many of these dogs can be rehabilitated, so why don't they deserve a chance as much as other dogs do? Why don't we want to fight harder to give happy lives to those who can be rehabilitated and adopted, to try to make up for the hell humans put them through, instead of deciding arbitrarily that all of them should die?
And let's remember that in the case of the Vick dogs, not nearly all of them even had to go to Best Friends for that more serious rehabilitation--25 of them, after careful assessment, went straight into loving, experienced foster homes.

Until HSUS says sorry to the people, sorry to the Best Friends, sorry to those willing and wanting to give these animals a home, sorry for writing off puppies born after "the rescue" and sorry for giving up on lives that could have been saved. They have lost the support and respect of many (and not just 200 people).

Andrea M.

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