Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pit Bull Fighting Makes Adoption Difficult

Many watched the 60 Minutes interview Sunday night with Michael Vick. The football player opened up for the first time about an elaborate dog fighting operation he ran, and ultimately, served prison time.

"I thought it was cool. I thought it was fun," Vick said.

On 60 Minutes Vick came clean about an interstate dog fighting ring he ran on his Virginia farm. During a 2007 raid, investigators discovered 66 dogs there - many of them abused.

"Beating them, shooting them, electrocuting them, drowning them, horrific things Michael," the 60 Minutes reporter said.

"It's wrong man," Vick said.

Vick's story highlights a national problem, which includes Middle Tennessee.

"We estimate there are 40,000 professional dog fighters in the country, and perhaps 100,000 street fighters. We're talking about something that's occurring in every part of the country," said Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society President.

Pit bulls are bred for fighting, but have a short shelf-life.

"A lot of those dogs are abandoned very quickly, they end up in shelters," said LeAnn McCullough with the U.S. Humane Society.

Hundreds of pit bulls pour into Metro Nashville's animal control every month. It's estimated these dogs make up 60 percent of the animals they take in monthly.

"On top of that you have this image that dog fighting creates of these pit bulls, and it's an image of a violent dog that's a weapon instead of a companion. It makes people scared to adopt them," McCullough said.

Because of their violent background, these dogs are just about un -adoptable.

"Can we really safely put them out in the neighborhood, would you want them next door? Most people would be very fearful for their own pets," said Judy Ladebauche with Metro Animal Control.

So at Metro Nashville Animal Control, the hundreds of pit bulls that come every month, just about all of them are euthanized.

"The fault lies with the people who had them to begin with, and created a dog that can be deemed dangerous," Ladebauche said.

Experts said those pit bulls have little chance for rehabilitation -unless a rescue group works with them. Then they can make great pets!