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The Ruff Report: Dogs and Rescue

407 dogs rescued from fighting operation

The break up of an eight-state dogfighting operation - believed to be the largest bust of its kind in the nation's history - has resulted in the rescue of 407 dogs, although some may have to be destroyed if they are found to be unsuitable for adoption.

pit bulls are being cared for and evaluated by the Humane Society of Missouri at a temporary shelter. A U.S. District, with input from the humane society, will decide whether the dogs are suitable for adoption or must be destroyed.

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“We are committed to giving dogs who have come from such horrible abuse the absolute best chance for a good life,” Debbie Hill, Humane Society of Missouri official and director of the temporary shelter, states in a media release. “It is a tragedy that because of mistreatment by humans for financial gain and so-called sport, many dogs used in animal fighting may not ever be able to be placed in a home situation.”

According to the Humane Society of Missouri, each dog has been examined by a veterinarian, microchipped and treated for parasites. The dogs will be evaluated by pet behavior professionals to determine their suitability for possible placement with rescue groups or individual adopters. The humane society also is seeking pit bull/power breed rescue groups to work with it to secure appropriate placements for as many of the rescued dogs as possible.

The raids resulted in arrests in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Investigators from the Humane Society of Missouri's Cruelty Task Force provided the information that led to the raid, which involved the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

"The way animals used in dog fighting are abused, at the hands of people for profit, is absolutely abhorrent,” Humane Society of Missouri
president Kathy Warnick said. “We are grateful to the state and federal agencies for aggressively pursuing this investigation and bringing to justice those who perpetuate the systematic torture of dogs for sport and profit. Dog fighting is happening in every community in our state, right under our noses. Hopefully, public awareness and outrage will bring an end to this cruel and heinous form of animal abuse.”

The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals , which assisted in the raids, are vowing to escalate efforts to "root out" and "seek justice" against those who abuse pets.

“The ASPCA is determined to protect its nation’s pets from dogfighting and other forms of brutality” ASPCA President Ed Sayres states in a media release. “Animal cruelty cannot be tolerated.”

The ASPCA's Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit is collecting evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case and lending the services of its special forensic cruelty investigation team. The CSI unit brings state-of-the-art forensics tools and expertise to crime scenes and is outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animals.

“The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal CSI unit is an important component in the effort against animal cruelty,” said Laura Maloney, an official with the ASPCA's anti-cruelty unit. “This technology allows the ASPCA to strengthen cases against animal abusers and seek justice for their victims.”

In response to the raid, the HSUS has launched a national animal fighting tip line - 877-TIP-HSUS (847-4787) - and is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in dogfighting or cockfighting.

"Animal fighting is a cruel, criminal activity, and we plan to root it out in every dark corner where it festers," HSUS President Wayne Pacelle states in a media release. "We encourage anyone with information about animal fighting crimes to call this tip line to help us put violators in jail and to put a stop to cruelty."

According to the HSUS, more than 250,000 dogs suffer in dogfighting pits each year. Even though organized dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states, the HSUS estimates that 40,000 people follow organized dogfighting circuits and an additional 100,000 street dogfighters meet on neighborhood streets, alleys and hideaways.

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Those who wish to make donations to help pay for the treatment and care of the dogs should visit the Humane Society of Missouri.

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*The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

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