Animal Cruelty Related to Dog Fighting and Mistreatment
By Samuel F. Bosco, MD, FACEP
Animals subjected to training associated with dog
fighting and the dog fighting itself, are some of the cruelest forms of
animal abuse and show a total lack of respect for the life of those
In addition, other innocent animals are
frequently sacrificed in an effort to help train a more vicious and
aggressive animal. We would like to point out that in addition
to the potential injuries and violence that can be perpetuated on human
beings; the dogs have become the real victims in this battle.
Whether it be a Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd,
Doberman or other breed, any dog can be made to be aggressive and trained
to fight. It is important not to make specific breeds of
animals responsible for what human beings have trained them to do.
The animal learns and attempts to satisfy his or her master's
wishes. Specific breeds of dogs are chosen to do terrible
things by very misdirected people because of their strength, loyalty and
dedication to the owners they try to satisfy. Any breed of
animal can be trained, tortured, and inappropriately handled to become
vicious. The same breeds that are currently being used for
this purpose have been some of the best companions for people and children
over the years. They only need an average and reasonable
chance in life by responsible owners. As an example, pit bulls
were one of the most popular family breeds of dogs in the 1950s.
They are not born vicious and aggressive.
It is known that abuse against animals is sometimes a
precursor to even more serious violence, including child abuse and domestic
violence. People continue to mistreat children, other adults,
and animals in a way that harms all of society. Unfortunately,
we cannot save all animals that become abused, nor is it even appropriate
in some circumstances. We would like to point out, however,
that focusing on the human beings responsible for the torture, ongoing
fighting and abuse of these animals is very appropriate.
Continuing to allow the torture and mistreatment of these animals
within our communities sends a very wrong message to those individuals
responsible for this activity. It allows the seeds of violence
and disrespect for life to grow into even more violent
The Mohawk Hudson
Humane Society strongly opposes and condemns all activities, training and
mistreatment associated with dog fighting, as well as the activity of dog
fighting itself to the fullest extent. We support the
The Mohawk Hudson
Humane Society supports enforcement of existing laws and penalties to help
hold people accountable for this senseless abuse.
The Mohawk Hudson
Humane Society supports legislation that is directed at
responsibility of individuals and increase the seriousness of penalties
associated with this activity for those individuals.
generalization regarding specific breeds of dogs by various media outlets
is strongly discouraged.
The Mohawk Hudson
Humane Society does not support breed specific legislation as a means of
solving this problem. People performing these actions need to
be held accountable. The dogs are among the victims of this
The Mohawk Hudson
Humane Society supports education of the community, law enforcement, and
animal control officers related to this issue, as well as the safe handling
of potentially dangerous animals.
The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is ready to
assist local and regional law enforcement in the continued safety, well
being, and rescue of all domestic animals.
No Kill and Open Admission Shelters
There has been much press in recent years about
facilities called "No Kill" shelters. This concept has much
appeal for those concerned about the fate of animals. Taken
just on the surface, it would be easy to ask why the Mohawk
& Hudson Humane Society is not identified as a no-kill facility.
As a no-kill shelter, we would have few
options. We would take in only the number of animals for
the space available and then be forced to close our doors. The fate of the animals that no-kill shelters turn away would then be uncertain. We also have partnerships with local animal control departments to take in stray animals and animals that are victims of abuse and neglect as required by law. It would be easy to say that
another shelter or facility could assume that responsibility, but that
would mean we are just shifting the problem instead of addressing it.
Because the Humane Society accepts all animals, some have behavioral problems that are
dangerous to people or other animals. This is
a particularly difficult issue since it's often not a case of whether an
animal can be trained or not. Many of these behavior issues create serious safety issues for the community and can not be changed. The Society does not believe that we should simply hold these animals indefinitely so that they live out their lives in a cage.
When a no-kill shelter has reached its capacity and closed
its doors, the problem doesn't end. What happens now?
Dogs and cats are abandoned on the steps of the shelter.
There is an increase of animals abandoned on city streets and rural
roadways, resulting in both a community problem and a humane crisis.
It should be kept in mind that there is no agreed-upon definition of a "no-kill shelter." Many shelters using the term no-kill to describe themselves actually euthanize a large number of animals. Some call themselves no-kill because they euthanize under a certain percentage of animals. Others have created a formula that compares the number of animals euthanized to the population of their service area.
Generally there are two forms of no-kill shelters. One is a shelter where no animal is
euthanized for any reason. The dynamics that position creates were
discussed above and may actually result in animals suffering. The other form is a shelter that does not euthanize animals they deem to be "adoptable." This is a more nuanced position where the shelter, through
spaying/neutering of animals and educating the public to increase awareness, reduces the number of animals needing the shelter's services. While these shelters may euthanize sick or aggressive animals, they are still performing euthanasia so the term "no-kill" does not accurately describe their program. The goal of the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is to find homes for every animal that is healthy, friendly or has a treatable medical or behavioral condition.
At the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, our
staff is called upon to make decisions regarding the welfare of animals on
a daily basis. This responsibility is taken very seriously and at times our staff is forced to consider euthanasia as the most humane option. Animals are routinely brought to the shelter with
illness or injury that necessitates euthanasia as the obvious choice for
humane handling of the animal.
The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is actively
involved in efforts to provide education to the public as to the proper
care of all types of animals. Designated staff and volunteers
visit schools and other public venues in an effort
to spread the important message about spaying and neutering pets and humane animal care. Public
education plays an important part in reducing the numbers of unwanted
animals. Our animal shelter is determined to be part of the
As Harry Truman said, "The buck stops here."
The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society will never turn away an
animal in need. Every animal is properly cared for while seeking a new home. Every animal is spayed or neutered before being
adopted to ensure that the outgoing animal will not add to the already
staggering animal population numbers.
Sadly, the numbers of abused, neglected, stray and
unwanted animals are legion. During the summer it is not
unusual for this shelter to receive in excess of 20 cats per day at a
sustained rate extending for weeks at a time. The staggering numbers of
unwanted creatures far exceeds the appropriate homes ready to receive them.
This is not only a situation prevalent in this area but is evident
At the present time, there is no perfect solution to
the mass animal overpopulation situation. The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society is engaged in every facet of humane work to
ensure that the best possible outcome is available to end animal suffering
and overpopulation. We do not have all the answers, but we continue to
search for solutions to some of the most difficult issues of humane work.
The job is not an easy one. True humane work is a formidable
responsibility. We provide thousands of unwanted animals a new family. We
provide a warm shelter and veterinary care for those awaiting adoption.