Happy Ending for Many Fighting Dogs Rescued in Largest U.S. Raid


More than 400 Pit bull dogs seized in the largest multi-state dog fighting raid in U.S. history have been waiting since July to learn their fate.  This week dozens of them are on their way to new homes.


On July 8, 2009 federal agents, local law enforcement and multiple animal welfare groups rescued more than 500 fighting dogs in a raid that crossed into 8 states.  The investigation has led to the arrest of 30 individuals.  407 of the dogs and their puppies were sent to a temporary shelter that was managed by the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) – the group that organized the investigation.  The rest of the dogs were kept in their home states.


This week HSMO invited The Associated Press to the shelter to mark the historic moment as 120 of the dogs left to start a new life.  Another 117 dogs will be leaving soon, along with the 100 puppies that have been born at the shelter since the raid. 


The placement of these former fighting dogs was a happy and historic event for many reasons. When HSMO first took charge of the dogs, they were told by experts that only 5 – 10% could probably be rehabilitated.  Instead, the majority of the dogs will be going to new families, foster homes or rescue groups. 


Out of the group, 160 dogs were euthanized because of injuries, illness or aggression. 


Secondly, the event was special because of the large number of rescue groups that agreed to take custody of the dogs.  Dozens of organizations took one or a handful of dogs for placement in homes or for further rehabilitation.  The first 26 Pits were sent to homes that understand their needs in Utah, Oregon and California.  The second set of 50 dogs was transported to rescue groups in the northeast. 


The California-based Pit bull rescue and advocacy group called Our Pack is planning to take custody of three dogs from the raid.  One dog named Jakob has already arrived and is getting to know his new surroundings.  He will live with the group’s founder Marthina McClay who plans to train him for a new career as a therapy dog.  The other two dogs are still waiting for their official release from the U.S. District Court.


McClay said, “The dog (Jakob) is a great candidate for this kind of work. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is temperament.  Many people don’t realize that Pit bulls have loving, affectionate natures that often make them perfect for this kind of work.  We think Jakob is going to be ideally suited for his new job.”


The concept of assessing Jakob’s and the other dogs’ temperament is another reason  that makes this rescue so historical.  It is the first time HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) has implemented its new policy to evaluate dogs individually that have grown up in the world of dog fighting. 


Earlier this year HSUS was highly criticized for supporting a court order to destroy 145 Pit bull dogs they rescued in a raid in Wilkes County, NC.  HSUS had investigated this kennel for three years, then initiated the rescue mission and ultimately oversaw euthanizing of all of them.  They never had any of the dogs evaluated for possible rehabilitation. 


However in the case of this seizure, all of the dogs were evaluated by animal behaviorists like Pamela Reid.  She said, “A surprising two-thirds tested well for nonaggression and adoptability.”  She is personally fostering one of the puppies.


Reid found that some of the dogs were shy and “quivered in fear of new visitors,” while other dogs were “extroverts, springing on hind legs to say hello.”


Debbie Hill, vice president of operations for HSMO had this to say about the dogs she has cared for since July, “They are not a vicious animal.  They are the victims of abuse. That face and their eyes tell the story.  They only want to be in someone’s home, on a couch, or sleeping at someone’s feet, maybe chew up a rug or two for entertainment.  They’re learning for the first time how to be a dog.”


 Click here to see the AP video about the dogs



Meghan C.
Meghan C7 years ago

I'm so glad this raid had such a positive outcome for these sweet creatures. They just need to be loved. Dogfighting is so cruel and disgusting, I'm glad that so many of them got a happy ending this time. I hope that all people who run and participate in this awful dogfighting practice are punished to the full extent of the law.

Lilith Graves
Lilith Graves7 years ago

Yes to the poll (Rehabilitation for fighting dogs should be universal policy?)

Lilith Graves
Lilith Graves8 years ago

I Love Happy Endings!

Janice P.
Janice P8 years ago

I could not be happier for these dogs. I wrote in another post that I volunteer for a shelter that has 90% pits. I have done many, many adoptions of these pits into homes with children and they are wonderful and loyal. They can take the prodding, pulling of ears, pulling of tails, etc. I love the breed and will defend them forever.

Judy S.
Judy S8 years ago

I feel I could go all religious. Thank the Lord and all the people involved in this rescue. Wish I had been there.

gary richard jo Thompson

theyre alive,breathing lovely little bundles of joy

Neil K.
Past Member 8 years ago

it is nice post. We should do something to save animals . It is very necessary , PETA is doing really noble work .

christmas gifts

Charlene B.
Charlene B8 years ago

It's wonderful beyond words to see at least the majority of these dogs going off to live normal lives. People need to realize, as maybe the HSUS is starting to (maybe?), that animal aggression & human aggression are two completely different things. Because a dog was fought does not mean it is now going to be aggressive towards humans and those dogs are certainly capable of living as family pets -- sometimes even with other animals.

sylvia a8 years ago

I am an animal lover and have a rescue dog who is my dear companion. I must disagree with those who think a trained fighting dog with agression in it's genes can made into a predictable family pet. I sadly wait for the first report of a child mauled by one of these dogs..........and it will happen

Heather O.
Heather O8 years ago

"My thanks goes to the people who oppose and take action against the dispicable trash who even watch such horrific deeds being perpetrated.

Especially trained dogs should be used to tear these individuals to shreds - they deserve nothing more than an agonising painfull death!"

Yes, I agree in spirit. But I'm afraid it would be so bad for the dogs digestion. Maybe four horses being chased by dogs with the assholes cross-tied between the four? That could be...interesting, and with less potential damage to puppy tummies.