The Humane Society of the United States launched its “End Dogfighting” campaign Thursday at the Hunting Park Recreation Center in Philadelphia. Part of $50,000 the Humane Society received from the Eagles will go toward funding the new program.
The program in Philadelphia, similar to efforts in Chicago and Atlanta, will include education and dog training.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the national Humane Society, said the campaign is about giving owners another way to take pride in their dogs.
“We will provide a setting with professional dog trainers to give them a new experience with their pit bulls and to give them the ability to value the physicality of these animals in a new way,” said Pacelle. “So they can go through obstacle courses, they can jump on platforms, and they can exhibit behavior that shows discipline in training.”
Animal advocates point out that dog fighting is closely linked with drugs, guns, and crime.
The Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals receives an average of 60 dogfighting complaints a month.
A success story
Yukon is far from a vicious, snarling pit bull. He’s wearing an orange jacket. He likes treats, kisses and being held. Before the press conference starts, he sits quietly and obediently. It really looks like he’s smiling.
Stacey Coleman is the executive director of Animal Farm Foundation, a New York group that’s helped Yukon since he was rescued from a large-scale dogfighting ring in Ohio.
“He lost most of his teeth due to bad nutrition, his skin is bad from living outside in very damp conditions. He was chained in an area of the yard where he was forced to stand in water, constantly. So it has really affected his skin…he looks like he’s wearing saggy pantyhose on his legs.
“Around his front legs there, it looks like his socks are drooping,” she said. “But that’s just his skin. That’ll tighten up and straighten up and if it doesn’t that’s still OK because he’s still charming.”
Coleman said people who meet a sweet dog like Yukon will quickly realize just how cruel dogfighting is.
Click here to learn more about the Animal Farm Foundation.