Dogs should be judged as individuals
(Vocus) February 17, 2009
A coalition of animal welfare groups has formed to protest the court-order to kill all the 127 American Pit Bull Terriers—60 of them puppies—seized from the Wildside Kennels in Wilkesboro, N.C.
Led by Best Friends Animals Society, the coalition includes BAD RAP (Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls), Animal Farm Foundation, Villa Lobos Rescue Center, and Downtown Dog Rescue.
Monday’s Wilkesboro Superior Court order announced by Judge Ed Wilson would put all of the dogs down after their owner, Ed Faron had been sentenced to jail for 8-10 months. The dogs were seized Dec. 10, 2008 during a raid on Faron’s Wildside Kennels.
Ledy VanKavage, an attorney for Best Friends Animal Society said, “With Faron’s conviction North Carolina’s law enforcement and judicial system sent a strong message that dog fighting will not be condoned in their state. We applaud their courage. Now, we ask them to show the same courage when it comes to innocent victims of dog fighting, the dogs themselves. We have ample evidence that the dogs from these situations should not be stereotyped and deserve an opportunity to be evaluated for potential adoptability.”
The coalition is urging North Carolina, and other states, to let go of old, discredited policies that assume all such dogs are inherently damaged or dangerous. The most publicized example are the rousing successes of the dogs seized from Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation: many of those dogs are now honored members of family, therapy dogs or making great strides with their rescue groups.
Best Friends is urging citizens to contact their state legislators to change North Carolina law and delete the clause in the law that makes it possible for dogs harbored for fighting to automatically be deemed “dangerous” dogs.
“Dogs should be judged as individuals,” VanKavage said. “Their adoptability should be judged on their behavior and not their breed.”
“Our experience has shown that every custody case reveals highly adoptable individuals that do not reflect the tragic circumstances into which they were born. Without evaluations, these dogs are lost,” said Donna Reynolds Executive Director BAD RAP.
“Some of these dogs are mere puppies and there is absolutely no reason to destroy them,” said VanKavage. “Why should an innocent puppy, born into this type of situation, face automatic death because of its breed?”
The groups point out that dogs raised for fighting shouldn’t be summarily doomed. For example, 22 of the Michael Vick dogs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary , BADRAP, and other organizations have made great progress with dogs from the Vick fighting bust. Some of these dogs were condemned by other national humane organizations to be the most violent dogs in America. Now many have their Canine Good Citizenship and some are therapy dogs.
Rebecca Huss, the court-appointed Special Master in the Michael Vick dog fighting case involving Bad Newz Kennels said some of the dogs have undergone transformation and are serving others, some are in foster homes, and a few have been adopted.
“It is consistent with public safety concerns to evaluate each dog as an individual to determine whether they can be placed in the community,” Huss said. “It is my opinion that every dog should be evaluated on an individual basis. The Bad Newz Kennels case shows there is no reason for euthanizing dogs merely by their breed or location where it was seized.”
For more information contact:
Best Friends Animal Society http://www.bestfriends.org
Barbara Williamson (435) 689-0200 (cell) (or) barbara(at)bestfriends.org
John Polis (435) 644-2001, ext. 4858 or johnp(at)bestfriends.org
Animal Farm Foundation http://www.animalfarmfoundation.org
Stacey Coleman (845) 868-7559 (or) scoleman(at)animalfarmfoundation.org
BAD RAP http://www.badrap.org
Donna Reynolds (510) 441-6461 (or) donna(at)badrap.org
Downtown Dog Rescue http://www.downtowndogrescue.org
Lori Weise (213) 448-9961 (or) lori(at)modernica.net
Villa Lobos Rescue Center http://www.vrcpitbull.com/home.htm
Tia Maria Torres (661) 268-0555 (or) tiamaria(at)vrcpitbull.com
About Best Friends Animal Society:
Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009, Best Friends Animal Society advances nationwide animal welfare initiatives by working with shelter and rescue groups around the country. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in southwestern Utah is the nation's largest facility for abused, abandoned and special needs companion animals. On any given day the sanctuary is home to approximately 2,000 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, birds, and other animals. The society publishes Best Friends magazine, the nation’s largest general interest, pet-related magazine with approximately 300,000 subscribers. For more information on Best Friends Animal Society, visit: http://www.bestfriends.org/.