HSUS Changes Tune About Destroying Fighting Dogs

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.



Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago

I own three Pitbulls. All were rescues, one had been used for fighting and bears the scars to prove it. At first he was difficult to manage because he was never taught anything by the people who had him prior to his rescue. He never showed any aggression toward people, only other dogs. Over time he has become a great companion and gets along fine with my other 2 rescue pits. All it took was alot of love and some time and training. For anyone who doesnt believe me, I have taken many photos and videos along the way and it clearly shows his incredible journey.

Shannon M.
Shannon M9 years ago

I think the owners should be put down instead of the pit bull dogs.And the person who thinks they should all be put down is a very close minded person and has no compassion for these poor animals. They are not born bad. Only humans are born bad.

Rebecca R.
Rebecca R9 years ago

Tim L, you're so wrong. You should get better informaed-- check out The Dog Whisperer on NatGeo. Dogs live in the moment. Every dog can be saved.

Cher C.
Cher C9 years ago

I was appalled when I first read about what HSUS did. I'm so glad they changed their tune!

Ban the Deed Not the Breed!!

Selma A.
Selma A9 years ago

It may be true that some dogs, after being trained to attack, may not be re-trainable, but I think we owe it to the animals to at least give them a chance, on a case-by-case basis. They may not be suitable dogs for every home but the animal shouldn't automatically be killed because of the way it's owners treated it. It's like the situation in some countries where human victims of certain crimes are harassed, ostracised, or even killed because of to the crimes committed against them. It just doesn't make sense to me. Maybe we should be doing more to properly evaluate these animals after we rescue them. Is it really a rescue if we're just going to kill it anyway?

johnnie W.
johnnie W9 years ago

It is about time the HSUS came around to the times, old age theorys are just that OLD AGE. I believe that dogs can be saved from a live of abuse and they will and do show love for it. I had a pit bull from the time I was 3 untill I was 16 and he passed on, I still cry when I think of him His name was BOZO, I am lucky my mother was so crazy about him to, because we have lots and lots of good pictures of him and me from the time I was 3. He was very big and very gentle, he laid with me for naps and never moved, he played whatever I was playing. God bless all the poor pits that bad people train to do bad, because they are cowards.

Wanda P.
Wanda P9 years ago

It has already been proven that these dogs can be rehabilitated. I have been around small dogs that were mean, and couldn't be trusted because of abuse and neglect. Humans are the problem not dogs.

Joel M.
Laura M9 years ago

To Eugene Kravis, I find it rather sad that you kept calling the dogs that you went to give shots to and check on as a veternarian, stock!

Tima P.
Tima P9 years ago

We rescued a husky who was afraid of us, afraid to come in the house, afraid of quick movements and anyone over 1 foot tall! While she is not a fighting dog, or even aggressive, she certainly was abused and pretty psycho when we got her. Even our vet said, maybe she's the wrong choice. A year later, this formerly psycho dog knows more commands than I do, insists on hauling her 45 lbs into my lap, and can't think of anything more wonderful than cuddling and curling up with her cat. Patience and love cures!

Tim L.
Tim L9 years ago

I believe that fighting dogs should be euthanized. These dogs are bred to fight, and have been for centuries. Especially pit bulls. The pit in pit bull is for pit fighting, they are and have been bred to fight, so it's in their DNA. Hardly a week goes by that there isn't a report of a "pet" pit bull mauling someone!