US cracks down on dogfighting. Can pit bulls find a home?
Wednesday's raid netted 26 arrests and 450 pit bulls across seven states.
The US is getting serious about cracking down on dogfighting, as shown by a sweeping raid Wednesday which yielded 26 arrests across seven states and the seizure of 450 pit bulls bred to fight.
This is the biggest dogfighting raid in US history, according to the Humane Society of US (HSUS).
But as raids on shadowy dogfighting rings step up, the HSUS and animal adoption groups face a dilemma: Can they find homes for all the rescued dogs?
Some pit bulls may become "casualties in the war between a society that says animal fighting is wrong and the issue of there not being enough homes for the animals being bred," says Robert DeFranco, a companion animal behaviorist and president of the American College of Applied Science in Crescent City, Fla.
Wednesday's raid was conducted with the cooperation of local, county, and state law enforcement, as well as the FBI, the US Department of Agriculture, and the HSUS. Those arrested were charged under federal laws for buying and selling fighting dogs and engaging in dogfighting.
"The message is loud and clear to the dogfighting business that thriving on pain and suffering is not going to be tolerated any longer," says Scotlund Haisley, senior director of emergency services at the HSUS in Washington.
Dogfighting raids have increased since the 2007 arrest and conviction of former Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick in Virginia for breeding fighting dogs and engaging in dog fights became a rallying point for animal rights activists.