Monday, December 22, 2008

Kay County: Pit bulls saved or euthanized

The end result for many large-scale confiscations of pit bulls is death. Not because the dogs are inherently evil or dangerous. Not because there aren't rescues willing to take some of the dogs. It is because of a perpetuated myth that pit bulls from fight busts or large neglect cases are a liability, that the only "good" thing for these abused dogs is to kill them. What a tragedy that the stereotype is perpetrated by shelters and humane societies that should know better.

Enter the Kay County sheriff's department who received a tip from a couple of hunters in early December that there were a lot of neglected pit
bulls on a rural property. When the sheriff's department showed up, more
Photo from BadRap
than 100 dogs were found in various stages of neglect and starvation. None of the dogs were at a normal weight, some had even paced a trench around their chain's maximum length, no doubt a sign of utter frustration and boredom. Several puppies were also discovered.

Instead of following the traditional route of mass-killings (the automatic killing of dogs should not be considered "euthanasia"), Kay County reached out to the animal protection movement and asked for help. The Oklahoma Alliance for Animals, Best Friends and BadRap responded. And so did the public. When the Kay County Sheriff's department asked for help with donations, food and care for the dogs - thousands of dollars poured, enough food for a month was trucked in, and people showed up in support of these dogs. Amazing. The "owner" of the dogs has been charged with 70 counts of animal cruelty.

BadRap sent two representatives out to Oklahoma to evaluate the dogs. While there isn't final word from BadRap on how many dogs were euthanized or saved, we know that some are on their way to California for a new lease on life. It is one thing to euthanize because the dog is too shut down or too aggressive to pass behavioral tests or because there just aren't enough rescues to take in 100+ dogs, it is a whole other ball game to kill a dog because he looks a certain way. Since when did head size and the musculature of animal take precedence over their behavior?

It's great some of these dogs have a second chance. And, like the dogs adopted and saved from Vick's property, these dogs will continue to be ambassadors for pit bulls. They will show their community that a dog from a fight bust or from a cruelty case can be a model canine representative. They will show people that pit bulls are dogs, that they deserve as much of a chance at a good life as any other pup.

See BadRap's slideshow here

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