The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has agreed to reconsider their policy regarding dogs that are rescued from dog-fighting rings. They will now evaluate individual dogs to see if they can be rehabilitated instead of sentencing the entire group to death by euthanization.
The new strategy is being used on a trial basis after the organization received a lot of criticism from other animal welfare organizations. Best Friends Animal Society loudly complained after a recent incident where HSUS supported a court ruling that ordered 145 Pit bull dogs to be destroyed after they were rescued from the Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County, NC.
The ironic part of the story is; it was HSUS who investigated this kennel for three years and then led the raid to rescue the dogs. Sadly, none of these dogs were evaluated to see if they could be rehabilitated and that included 70 puppies that were all destroyed.
Best Friends has been particularly critical about HSUS’ old policy, especially after the group’s gratifying experience rehabilitating 25 Pit bull dogs from Michael Vick’s dog-fighting kennel.
HSUS has scheduled a meeting with many of the leading animal welfare groups to discuss this issue and come up with an official policy. The meeting is scheduled in April in Las Vegas, NV.
Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS had this to say, “We expect government, corporations, and individuals to constantly re-evaluate how they deal with animal issues. Likewise, we regularly review our own policies and procedures here at HSUS, and we think it is important to talk with professional colleagues in the movement to examine issues related to the disposition of fighting dogs.” “I am pleased to discuss these issues with personnel from Best Friends and other organizations interested in the welfare of pit bulls.”
Julie Castle, of Best Friends said, “There had been more than enough airing of feelings and outrage that the dogs were not evaluated prior to being summarily euthanized. It was time to hit the reset button on this in order to move things forward in a constructive way. Mr. Pacelle was open and receptive to what we had to say and we are looking forward to our meetings in April.”
Best Friends has recently started a campaign to end the prejudice about Pit bulls. It is called, Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dogs.