RESCUED! ASPCA Helps Bust Second Largest Dogfighting Ring Ever
By: Grace Suriel
It's been an incredible week for pit bull advocates! On the heels of President Barack Obama's public opposition towards Breed Specific Legislation comes news of the takedown of what is believed to be the second largest dogfighting ring in U.S. history.
ASPCA announced the takedown ranging across several southern U.S. states and the rescue of more than 350 dogs. Dogs were found in varying degrees of health and most showed the telltale scars from dogfighting. All were left to suffer in extreme heat with little or no access to fresh food and water. Sadly, several dead animals were also found across the properties.
The sting comes at the end of a nearly three year operation involving 16 animal welfare organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, as well as at least 10 federal and state law enforcement agencies.
Tia Torres, Founder of Villalobos Rescue Center and star of Animal Planet's hit series Pit Bulls and Parolees, regarding the rescue said, "I'm very happy and relieved at the same time that law enforcement around the country is now working together to end this barbaric ritual that some like to call a 'sport.' I can remember the day when dog fighting was tossed to the side like it was not important enough to even acknowledge. To see a surge of power such as this raid, actually brings a smile to my face and lets me know that there is still hope."
Matthew Bershadker, ASPCA President & CEO closed an earlier blog post with a promise, "I'm very proud that we saved these animals, and the unprecedented ways we did. This is not the last dog fighting ring we'll break up, but you can be sure we'll be working hard until the day we can finally say it is."
Congratulations to all involved on this historic rescue! We look forward to seeing how these dogs progress. For updates on the rescue, stay tuned to the ASPCA's blog or follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #367rescue.
9/16/2013 UPDATE: A trial for the defendants is currently scheduled for February 2014. If convicted, they face up to 15 years in prison. Recently, CNN was granted exclusive access to the ASPCA's rehabilitation center. The images and stories emerging from the rehabilitation center are quite heartbreaking yet an aura of hope remains prevalent. We're rooting for you! Click here for the full story from cnn.com.