Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Faron Dogs Did Not Die In Vain

Since the February 16 ruling by Judge Ed Wilson Jr. to euthanize the 146 dogs that were seized in a raid on Ed Faron’s Wildside Kennels, the pit bull community has been up in arms. The decision to kill the dogs was supported by the largest animal welfare organization in the country, the Humane Society of the United States. According to the Winston-Salem Journal, representatives of HSUS testified in Wilkes County Superior Court that the dogs had to be destroyed because they had been 'bred for generations to be aggressive.' HSUS reasserted its outdated policy, written more than 20 years ago: 'Any dog who has been specifically bred or conditioned for fighting, or for which there is evidence that the dog has been used for fighting should not be placed for adoption by an animal shelter but humanely euthanized as soon as legally possible.'

Pit Bull rescuers and advocates from all over the country have been buzzing about the news. A coalition led by Best Friends Animal Society urged the HSUS to change its policy on fight bust dogs and they listened!

A meeting of the minds

February 23, 2009 : 8:44 PM ET

The Humane Society of the United States on February 23 issued an interim policy recommending all dogs be evaluated as individuals, and is calling a meeting of leading animal welfare organizations concerning dogs victimized by dog fighting.

Wayne Pacelle, chief executive officer and president of the Humane Society of the United States, suggested the meeting of major stakeholders in Las Vegas to work through the associated issues. This meeting is in response to concerns expressed by Best Friends Animal Society in December 2008 regarding HSUS policies related to animals confiscated in dog-fighting busts.

Pacelle said the meeting, scheduled for April, will include the participation of national stakeholder organizations that deal with pit bulls. The meeting was in the planning stages before Superior Court Judge Ed Wilson Jr. ruled that 145 pit bulls, including approximately 70 puppies, confiscated from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County, North Carolina, would be euthanized without evaluation to determine suitability for placement.

The new interim policy announced by the HSUS, pending the outcome of the meeting, recommends that local law enforcement and animal control evaluate such dogs as individuals rather than as a category before any decision is made regarding their future.

“We expect government, corporations, and individuals to constantly re-evaluate how they deal with animal issues,” Pacelle said. “Likewise, we regularly review our own policies and procedures here at HSUS, and we think it is important to talk with professional colleagues in the movement to examine issues related to the disposition of fighting dogs.

“I am pleased to discuss these issues with personnel from Best Friends and other organizations interested in the welfare of pit bulls.”

Julie Castle, director of Community Programs and Services for Best Friends said, “There had been more than enough airing of feelings and outrage that the dogs were not evaluated prior to being summarily euthanized. It was time to hit the reset button on this in order to move things forward in a constructive way. Mr. Pacelle was open and receptive to what we had to say and we are looking forward to our meetings in April.”

Best Friends, through its campaign, “Pit Bulls: Saving America’s Dogs,” is looking forward working cooperatively with HSUS, according to Castle.

The campaign is aimed in part at educating the public and the media about pit bulls in order to help save the breed’s reputation. “Our goal is to bring positive change to lives and image of pit bulls,” she said.

Written by Best Friends staff
Photo of Meryl, a Vicktory dog, by Gary Kalpakoff

As part of Best Friends’ 25th anniversary in 2009, our goal is to double our membership, so we can double our efforts to bring about a time when all companion animals have a forever home. What can you do to help? Give the Gift of a Best Friends membership to family and friends.

Another small step, but a major one still. The Victory dogs spoke a loud and clear message, as have countless others who have made it from ‘fight bust’ to Certified Therapy Dog, and still others who have been adopted into wonderful loving homes to be family pets. The Faron dogs did NOT die in vain. Because of this latest tragedy, other fight bust dogs will have the chance to be evaluated as individual dogs and they’ll have the chance to show the world that they are just as deserving as any other dog – and that they CAN go on to help our breed crawl out from under this shadow that’s been cast upon them for decades. These dogs may not have come from the Bad Newz Kennels of Michael Vick, but I call them VICTORY dogs just the same!

Read "Coalition Urges HSUS to Revise Policy on Dogs Seized in Fighting Busts"


Amanda said...

That's wonderful, it's about time!

New Hope Pit Bull Rescue said...

Amanda, it IS wonderful! I hope things actually follow through in the future. The Wilkes County bust was a serious tragedy for all those dogs who could likely have had a wonderful chance at a REAL life.