Wednesday, January 21, 2009

17 seized fighter pit bulls could be put to sleep

Many of the pit bulls seized in a dogfighting bust Monday were malnourished and neglected and could be put to death, an animal control official said Tuesday.

"Some of the puppies are absolute skeletons," said Harry Ward, manager of Detroit Animal Control. "Some puppies and adults have pretty severe wounds that are consistent with dogfighting, and there are some with pretty major infections and gaping wounds."

Detroit Police arrested nine people after raiding a dogfighting den in a vacant home on the 500 block of Mt. Vernon. They also seized 17 pit bulls -- 11 puppies and six adults.

The city's animal control division is housing the dogs in cooperation with the Michigan Humane Society, Ward said.

"A fairly good number of them will be candidates for euthanasia for humane reasons," Ward said.

The humane society's Detroit office and the animal control division do not adopt out pit bulls because too many of them are used for fighting, Ward said.

But Gloria Postell, 54, a social worker from Detroit, wishes they would reconsider that policy.

"To paint them all as aggressive, I have a problem with that," said Postell, who owns a 10-year-old pit bull mix named Fayth. "Even Michael Vick's dogs were adopted," she said, referring to the former NFL quarterback who was convicted of dogfighting.

The humane society's cruelty investigation took over the case on Tuesday, said Detroit Police spokesman James Tate. Prosecutors worked on finalizing animal cruelty and dogfighting charges against the nine suspects, seven men and two women.

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