Friday, 19 February 2016

The case of the Chatham-Kent Dogfighting Survivor Dogs

Dogs forced to fight - against their will.

Now we must fight to save them. 

By Vicki Van Linden, Director

Twenty-one Pit bull dogs, victims of the brutal crime of dog-fighting, are in grave danger of being destroyed very soon.

The Ontario SPCA has given up on them and say that they cannot be saved. It is reported that on March 10th, 2016, they will seek the court’s permission to destroy the remaining dogs.

But, we know that there are organizations in the US that have successfully rehabilitated such dogs. Have those organizations been approached to provide their expertise? Has every effort been made to transfer these dogs outside of Ontario, placing them in the hands of those trained to work with survivor-dogs?
As dogs abused in fight rings they deserve specialized assessment from those with particular expertise. We need to be sure that every effort has been made to explore all such organizations to obtain help for these dogs. We want to know that no stone has been left unturned.

Most of us have read about the survivor dogs of the Michael Vick dogfighting ring, known as the Vicktory Dogs. Heather Gutshall adopted one of those survivors, a dog named Handsome Dan. Heather not only lives with this survivor in her home, she has evaluated and rehabilitated many other survivors. She is experienced at evaluating such dogs and is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant, holding credentials; CPDT-KA
 (Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed) and ACDBS (Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant.)

Ms. Gutshall, who lives in Rhode Island, has offered to travel to Ontario to evaluate the Chatham-Kent dogs, free of charge.

If there are viable offers of assistance available, why is the OSPCA seemingly determined to go it alone, even if this results in all of the dogs being killed?

Many people are concerned about the dogs and deserve to know that these poor animals have been given every consideration.

Having them assessed by those who have had success rehabilitating dogfighting survivors would meet that criteria.

Why do these dogs matter?  Because they were victims of extreme cruelty.  They should have the very best chance at recovery.

Why does this case matter?   Because we know that groups in the United States have rehabilitated former fighting dogs. These dogs deserve the same opportunity. 

If we cannot find the compassion to better protect these most abused and suffering of dogs, this will surely be a testament to the inadequate state of animal protection in our province.

Ontario could embrace these dogs as inspiration for a new beginning for improved animal welfare in Ontario. A more forward-thinking approach could set our province on a new path.

The lives of the Chatham-Kent fight survivor-dogs matter.
And the future of animal protection in Ontario matters too.

For anyone in Ontario who wants our provincial leaders to dig deep and do better, now is the time to let them know.

Emails can be sent to:

The Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Minister Yasir Naqvi

Anne Buonaiuto, Executive Assistant:
Brad Dewar, Inspector:

Join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter:  #SaveDogfightingSurvivors

You can read more about Heather Gutshall’s rescue group called Handsome Dan’s Rescue and learn more about two special dogfighting survivors, Handsome Dan and Tillie at:

Read about a rescue group called Bad Rap, who rehabilitated some of the Vick dogs and were instrumental in giving them their chance at life.

Read about Best Friends Sanctuary, where some of the Vick dogs received their first experiences in rehabilitation.