You may be aware of the HSUS’ (Humane Society of the United States) End Dogfighting™ Campaigns. It started with Chicago in 2006. That success spurred a similar program in Atlanta in 2008. And for 2010, Philadelphia is next on the list of targeted urban areas.
The debasing world of underground dog fighting is rampant in the U.S. Even though dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states, a sub-culture of violence and blood lust for it still exists. HSUS is taking a grassroots approach by establishing programs in urban areas infected by dog fighting.
A very creative and compelling PSA (Public Service Announcement) was filmed by AnimalRescueAssociation.org that describes — from the dog’s point of view — the reality and atrocity of dog fighting.
The community outreach approach of HSUS is to seek out and hire local, respected community members who can educate, mediate and intervene with current and potential dog fighters. The four-point campaign focuses on:
- Pit Bull Training Team: Provide free and accessible weekly pit bull training classes. This is to show pit bulls as friends, not fighters. Basic obedience, responsible pet ownership and agility are taught.
- Community Outreach: By providing vaccination clinics, low cost spay/neuter, dog house giveaways, fence subsidies and religious leader outreach HSUS promotes its anti-dog fighting message earning trust in the community.
- Law Enforcement Partnership: HSUS partners with law enforcement, offering them training on catching dog fighters and providing a reward of up to $5,000 for tips leading to convictions. Educating police officers on canine body language can help prevent a dog being killed during a confrontation.
- Humane Education: The HSUS developed a special eight-week curriculum for middle school children. This curriculum tackles the topic of dog fighting through games and hands-on activities. It also teaches responsible pet ownership, how to read a dog’s expressions and safety tips on what to do when approached by an unknown canine.
Coming to Philadelphia
Rebecca Glenn-Dinwoodie, HSUS’ Coordinator to End Dogfighting™ in Philadelphia is planning on the campaign beginning by year end. The Philadelphia native has studied the city’s dog fighting statistics and she is currently negotiating with Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation.
A preventive approach to end dogfighting is HSUS’ intent. Glenn-Dinwoodie described for me the effect of HSUS’ End Dogfighting™ campaigns in Chicago and Atlanta: “How it engages kids is incredibly powerful and how it engages dogs is incredibly powerful, too.”
When queried as to why HSUS chose Philadelphia for its third campaign, Glenn-Dinwoodie said there were several anonymous benefactors who donated a large amount, earmarking it for startup in Philadelphia. Undoubtedly — with Michael Vick now a quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles — dogfighting in the city has reached a new level of awareness in the public consciousness. The Philadelphia Eagles organization is another donator that wants to see HSUS succeed in the city.
The time is ripe for HSUS to start preventing Philadelphia youngsters from the lure of dogfighting. Help a youth from entering a life of violence toward animals. Save a dog from a life of pain and misery at the hands of dog fighters.
Sean Moore with former fight dog, photo by Saverio Truglia used with permission.