Thursday, March 5, 2009

Group holds vigil in hopes of changing NC dog fighting laws

A controversial move led people to gather in Raleigh Wednesday night for a special candlelight vigil – one that honored dogs instead of people.

One hundred dogs were put to sleep recently after being rescued from a dog fighting ring in Wilkes County.

Some are saying the dogs should have been rehabilitated not killed.

State law requires that all animals taken from dog fighting operations be killed, but those at Wednesday night’s vigil say the law is outdated.

They want to change the law to allow pit bulls rescued from dog fighting operations to be evaluated to see if they can be saved. The people at the vigil say they’re not sure about how much support the measure has among lawmakers.

Activists upset at dog euthanization over rehabilitation

WILKES COUNTY (WTVD) -- Dogs that are mistreated or involved in dog fighting are often put down instead of put up for adoption.

State law deems all dogs involved in dog fighting operations are dangerous and many counties require all dangerous dogs to be destroyed.

On Wednesday, animal activists held a vigil front of the General Assembly hoping to change minds and give the dogs a fighting chance.

Activists want lawmakers to make sure dogs get a fair shot at a second chance.

"We think there is something really wrong with that," animal activist Laura Gonzo said. "I think it's really important for people to know that these dogs are victims. They are not monsters. They deserve our compassion, not our prejudice."

It all comes after 145 dogs, including 75 puppies, were seized from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County and euthanized last month.

It was a dogfighter's breeding operation, so automatically the dogs and the puppies were destroyed.

"Pit bulls have got such a bad rap out of all of this and it shouldn't be that way," Jackson County Representative Phil Haire said. "So I applaud the group that is supporting and trying to put more teeth into dog fighting."