The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has issued an interim policy regarding dogs victimized by dog fighting. The policy recommends that dogs be evaluated on an individual basis rather than being condemned to euthanization as a group.
The HSUS was widely criticized in recent weeks for supporting a court ruling that ordered 145 pit bulls destroyed after they were confiscated from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County North Carolina. The dogs, which included approximately 70 puppies, were euthanized earlier this month.
According to Best Friends Animal Society, the HSUS has called a meeting of leading animal welfare organizations specifically aimed at dealing with dogs victimized by dog fighting.
The meeting, set to take place in April, was called in response to concerns raised by Best Friends regarding HSUS policies on how dogs that have been confiscated from fighting situations are dealt with.
Best Friends Animal Society loudly lamented the HSUS decision that supported the mass euthanization in the North Carolina case. They, along with several other animal welfare organizations, stepped in to save and successfully rehabilitate the majority of dogs involved in the infamous Michael Vick dog fighting case. According to Animal Planet, Vick and three others were indicted on felony charges for dog fighting activity in July, 2007. Charges included, “breeding and training fighting dogs, hosting dogfights, killing dogs considered unable to fight and traveling out of state for dog fights.”
Best Friends is currently running its campaign, Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dogs, in an effort to educate the public about pit bulls and help save the breed’s reputation. The decision to euthanize the dogs seized in the North Carolina case is considered by Best Friends to be largely based on breed prejudice.
Hopefully good things will come out of the April meeting called by the HSUS: mainly the willingness to give these dogs a chance where before they had none. Let’s punish the people behind the crime, not the animals who are innocent victims.
Marika Collins is a writer, editor, and photographer who cares deeply about animal rights, social justice and the environment. She's a gadget freak and camera aficionado with a book collecting addiction and a mean sweet tooth. Has pen, will travel.