We know things have changed since Vick's dogs were given a chance at adoption and none of them managed to eat anybody (yet, some might opine). Things had to change - no longer is it perfectly acceptable to kill dogs without, at the very least, giving them an evaluation. That isn't to say shelters and authorities across the country aren't killing healthy dogs from fight busts, they still are, but now the public seems to want accountability.
This is good, of course. But.
First, the "authorities" and I'm sure you've seen these quotes spattered about (I don't know if they were taken out of context or are true excerpts):
From the Humane Society of Missouri's press release comes this sound-byte:
It is a tragedy that because of mistreatment by humans for financial gain and so-called sport, many dogs used in animal fighting may not ever be able to be placed in a home situation. - Debbie Hill, vice president of Operations for the Humane Society of Missouri
I might buy this if the confiscation of puppy mill dogs also garnered these types of statements. Puppy millers breed for profit and arguably mistreat their animals. Yet these dogs, who often have debilitating or life-long health problems and are often aggressive or fraught with behavioral problems seem to get a free pass into a new home, no questions asked. It's almost implied dogs from puppy mills will be adopted. But another group of dogs who have been mistreated and used for profit are somehow exempt because? (And I'm sure plenty of people can come up with plenty of reasons why puppy mill dogs are somehow more worthy of a nice home than fight bust dogs).
And then there is the HSUS who supposedly was modifying their stance of kill, kill, kill when it comes to fight bust dogs.
I think it's pretty certain that a lot of those dogs will not pass a behavioral test. - Wayne Pacelle, CEO HSUSPretty certain? Like there is some magic scientific study somewhere that states unequivocally fight bust dogs cannot pass a behavioral test? Few fight bust dogs have been given the basic chance AT a behavioral test. I'm not one to argue fight bust dogs are at a disadvantage. It is not because I think fighting is, in of itself, a reason to kill a healthy dog. I think the social isolation, prolonged chaining and strange (by my dog-loving standards) relationship with humans creates a dog who has a harder time relating to the world outside the yard.
Photo: Associated Press
Okay, so the ones pulling the strings, "saving" these dogs from further fighting, we can see that their big picture is stopping dog fighting not so much as saving dogs (and I won't argue that that is inherently bad). They seem to have a very jaded view of these dogs even though every picture I've seen shows tail-wagging dogs being easily handled by their rescuers (hardly a menacing threat).
<-- Evidence of very dangerous dogs! (okay, look above)
Then there is the part of me who sits down to write this post and thinks, who the hell is going to adopt these dogs? Are there 450 homes who want a potentially unsocialized, potentially fearful dog (assuming the evaluations permit for appropriate fear)? Are there 450 homes available nearby that can even have a pit bull? Your normal, run of the mill, happy go lucky pit bull has a slim chance at adoption under normal circumstances. Even slimmer when you have shelters and rescues who either require special assessments for pit bull adopters or who just don't want to adopt out our mush-headed canine friends, for whatever reason.
So even if these dogs pass with flying colors, even if half of them succeed - who is going to incorporate them into their programs? 200+ dogs is a lot. I mean, a lot. Factor in the possibility that, at this stage, some or many will be too reactive around other dogs to be housed together and you require either the same setup they came from (tie down yard) or individual kennels or a bucketload of foster homes...of which there are few. The realities of this type of confiscation, as it pertains to the dogs, is a mixture of hope and, for me, a grim reality.
That is not to say those in charge should just pass the buck, claim it's too much work and therefore the dogs should just be killed (or God forbid, claim none of the dogs passed the evaluation). I suppose I shouldn't even think about any of that until the evaluations occur and the number who pass become public.
*sigh* Well, on a happier note, here's Mina with a horse, who she feels are as interesting as a tree stump and thus unworthy of her undivided attention. The horse was slighted.