Update on the Dogs Seized in the Largest U.S.Dog Fighting Raid


On July 8, 2009 more than 500 Pit bull dogs were rescued during the largest multi-state federal dog fighting raid in U.S. history.  The raid by federal agents and several animal welfare organizations ran across 8 states and led to the arrest of 26 individuals.  All of the dogs were sent to a temporary sanctuary which is being managed by the Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO).


Now more than 2 months after their rescue, the U.S. District Courts are preparing to make a ruling regarding the future for each of these dogs.  This will happen within the next 1-3 weeks. 


The plan for a multi-state raid occurred after members of the Humane Society of Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force conducted an investigation about a dog fighting case in 2008.  That led to involvement by the FBI.  Tim Rickey and Kyle Held from HSMO spent countless hours researching and organizing the large scale raid.  They collected evidence and recruited other animal welfare groups to participate. 


“At times, when other agencies had doubts about continuing the investigation, Rickey’s and Held’s unrelenting commitment to ending dog fighting kept the investigation alive,” stated in a HSMO press release.


Currently there are 407 dogs and more than 100 puppies at the shelter.  “We were expecting to rescue between 200 – 300 dogs, but more dogs kept coming,” said Jean Jay PR Director for HSMO. “They live in individual cages which are separated by a sheet of plywood.  The plywood allows the dogs, which were bred for their aggression, to have only limited visual contact with each other.


Each dog is walked on a regular basis by staff and volunteers.  Jay explained that the dogs are easily handled on a leash and are “typically friendly toward people.” However, through breeding and training the majority are “dog aggressive.”  She reported that even the youngest puppies are showing tendencies toward some aggression.


More than 265 volunteers from 22 animal welfare organizations have helped with the effort.  The latest organization to send in a team is the American Humane Association.


Tracy Reis, program manager described a typical day like this, “We begin at 8 a.m. when feeding and watering are the priority.  Cages are cleaned; the dogs are walked and socialized.  By the afternoon, we take our first break for lunch.  Each dog’s behavior is monitored and recorded.  The highlight of each dog’s day is when peanut butter-filled toys are given to them before dinner.  After 5:30 p.m., once all of the dogs are comfortable, we go back to the hotel to sleep before beginning again the next day.”


“This temporary shelter is one of the best run that I’ve ever seen.  The area is organized, secure and very clean,” said Reis.  “The HSMO staff is outstanding.”


The dogs seized in the raid were found with numerous scars.  Some were malnourished and others had missing limbs.  Jean Jay admitted that some dogs had to be “humanely euthanized” because of medical reasons, but did not have the exact numbers.



The future of the pits is very uncertain.  In an unprecedented effort, animal behavior experts from the HSMO and the ASPCA have evaluated each dog to determine its “suitability for possible placement with rescue groups or individual adopters.” 


The District Courts now have the report for every dog at the sanctuary and will soon deliver a sentence for each one of them.  Jean Jay is hesitant to even predict how many will be saved from a death sentence. 


“We hope to place as many as possible with rescue groups that will either keep the dogs at their sanctuary or work with them so they can be adopted,” said Jay.


HSMO is optimistically looking for rescue groups or trained individuals to take custody of some of the dogs after the court rulings. They ask that any interested organizations contact them at: www.hsmo.org


“We are committed to giving dogs who have come from such horrible abuse the absolute best chance for a good life,” said Debbie Hill from HSMO.  We are relying on our fellow rescue groups to help us find permanent placement for as many of these dogs as possible.”


The Pit bull dogs are safe in their temporary home for now.  Sadly for many of them, the past 2 1/2 months will be the best part of their life.  If you know a rescue group or trained individual willing to accept one or two of the dogs, please get in touch with HSMO.


Please sign this petition regarding the Pit bulls rescued.


Humane Society of Missouri


David B.
David B.6 years ago

i say like others if i was in different circumstances i would.i hope it goes well for them ,considering there there thru no fault of there own

Sam Brown
Sam Brown6 years ago

I'd love to adopt one of those poor brutalized animals, but sadly my current living situation doesn't give me the opportunity (out all day at work, no-one else at home all day long). My heart goes out to them, and I really do hope they can all find loving homes, which is all they really want. :)

Julie R.
Julie R.6 years ago

I hate this kind of cruelty it just shows all the human is interested in is money and they would even use animals to get it. I would certainely rescue a Pit Bull that had been used for fighting, but I'm to far away living up here in Shetland. I hope most of these dogs find homes and don't have to be put down if not all of them, as Ceser Milan has said he hasn't met a dog yet that he can't turn around, he lives in America.

Derek Cole
Derek Cole6 years ago

i would take in a pitty they are loving and caring dogs its in their nature to obay their masters

Shirley Higgins
Shirley Higgins6 years ago

I would adopt to show loving care to these dogs, but I would work towards preventing this sort of thing in the first place. Get to the 'root cause' & it is treated & prevented from reacurring in the future.

Brenda P.
Brenda P.6 years ago

No, I couldn't adopt so I am leaning No!! But if I was younger yes I would take one they need a lot of love. It make me very sad to see peoples do dogs this way for greed$.

Rita Naughton
Rita Naughton6 years ago

I had to vote leaning no because I am not in a position to handle a dog trained to fight due to where I am living and my health.

Maria Angela Grow

I had to vote no because I am disabled and coud not control such a dog from attacking another dog.Were my circumstances different, I would answer yes.

CR C.6 years ago

I live in Aus so can rescue one but I do hope them all the best and hopefully there behaviour can be saved and these people that did this PAY big time you selfish ass holes.

jeanette steffi g.

Pit bulls can be the most caring, gentle, loving and happiest dogs one can ever meet. I hate it when people call them mosters or savage, when at birth, they're just any other ordinary labrador pup. They are not aggressive at birth, humans make them that way. I've seen footages of pit bulls made to fight but kept stopping and standing beside each other. Right from that second, I knew they didn't want to fight. They just wanted a better life, that's all.

I'm glad the dogs were rescued. And that they get a second chance in life without being underground fighting one of their own kind. And as for the 26 individuals arrested, I hope they stay in jail for along time and realize their faults and never do them again even for a second of their lives. Every animal deserves a second chance. And even humans who've done the most horrific of crimes can change their lives and have second chances. May the dogs that didn't make it rest in peace.