By Sloane Quealy-Miner
Dogfighting has been on the rise in the United States in the years following Michael Vick’s felony conviction in 2007. No wonder, when President Obama, Wayne Pacelle of HSUS and others including the NFL are so willing to forgive and forget. And in the case of Wayne Pacelle, actually advocate for him adopting a dog. Neither of the above mentioned parties reacted appropriately in the case of Michael Vick, therefore sending a message to the public that fighting dogs for “sport” isn’t that big of a deal. And thanks to them, dog fighting is still a huge problem today in many communities across our country including Genesee County in Flint, Michigan.
In Genesee County, in Flint, Michigan Walt Rodabaugh, the new Chief Officer of the county’s Animal Control Department is saying enough is enough. He is launching a hotline dedicated to taking tips from the public regarding suspected dog fighting rings. He is also encouraging the public to call 911 if they know a fight is taking place.
Just two weeks ago in Flint a suspected dog fighting ring allegedly run by a 14 year old was raided. Three of the dogs removed were immediately euthanized because their injuries were so severe. Not only were these innocent dogs forced to fight but they were also believed to be tortured as well. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse it did. Four of the dogs initially removed were returned to their abusers because they didn’t have enough evidence to hold them.
Last week officials in Flint seized 29 pit bulls along with steroids and “training” equipment from two neighboring houses that are believed to be connected to dog fighting rings. In one of the houses authorities found a treadmill covered in bite marks and electrical wiring. They believe that the dogs were shocked repeatedly by being hooked up to live electrical currents while being forced to “exercise” on the treadmills.
Authorities found out about this horrific situation thanks to deputies who had recently responded to an unrelated incident in the area. The deputies heard the dogs barking and filed a report to investigate.
Unfortunately the horrific cases of animal abuse and torture which are all part of dogfighting go on and on. But there are other victims besides the dogs that are forced to actually participate in the blood “sport”. All pit bulls and pit bull mixes everywhere are dog fighting victims. They have been demonized by the press, causing the public to perceive these mostly loving, well-adjusted and friendly dogs as vicious killers –raised for nothing more than violence. Because of these untrue and unfair negative stereotypes there is breed specific legislation which often makes it impossible for shelters to adopt out pit bulls. In January 2012 Genesee County Board of Commissioners voted to lift the breed-specific ban allowing pit bulls to be adopted out.
Please contact the Genesee Sheriff’s Department and the Genesee County Animal Control and thank them for helping the innocent dogs that are victims of dog fighting as well as pit bulls within their community.
Also, please encourage them to work with lawmakers to enact stronger laws that will protect the animals. As a society we need to adopt a zero tolerance policy when it comes to dog fighting. Currently there is rarely any justice for these dogs and this must change! It is up to all the animal activists, advocates and rescuers to make sure this happens.
EMAIL: Walt Rodabaugh at Genesee County Animal Control firstname.lastname@example.org
EMAIL: Sheriff Robert J. Pickell email@example.com
EMAIL: Undersheriff James Gage firstname.lastname@example.org
EMAIL BLOCK: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com