Thousands of dogs are injured or killed each year in illegal dog-fighting operations in the United States. In honor of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (NDFAD) April 8, the ASPCA has launched the “Get Tough” campaign, asking animal lovers to advocate for stronger laws and harsher sentences for creeps who fight dogs.
Last year, the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ) prosecuted 10 federal dog-fighting cases and secured the longest sentence (8 years) ever, according to the ASPCA. However, thousands of dog-fighting operations continue to operate across the country.
To participate in the Get Tough campaign, you can do the following:
- Sign the ASPCA’s petition asking the DOJ to continue to crack down on dog fighting.
- Download a free digital toolkit that includes social media shareables, a printable poster and more.
- Snap a selfie with the printable poster and share it on social media with the hashtag #GetTough.
Back in 2007, when dogs were seized from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, the general mindset was that fighting dogs could not be rehabilitated. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, told the New York Times the organization recommended that all fighting dogs, including those belonging to Vick, be euthanized shortly after they were seized.
Fortunately, dog experts from BAD RAP and Best Friends Animal Society knew better, and helped to change that mindset. They took in the Vick dogs, worked with them and eventually found loving forever homes in which many of these “unadoptable” survivors thrived, and even became therapy dogs.
Here are stories about dogs rescued from fighting operations who paid it forward and led happy lives:
- Pit Bulls Rescued from Dog-Fighting Ring Save Family from House Fire
- R.I.P. Gracie, Vick Dog Who Became Vicktory Dog
- Hector, Vick Dog Turned Therapy Dog, Crosses Rainbow Bridge
Photos: ASPCA; Laura Goldman (that’s Ella and Leroy, who gets very sad at the thought of dog fighting)