Dogfighting--does it happen here? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dogfighting--does it happen here?

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August 17, 2007

Albany - We're still waiting to hear whether Falcons quarterback Michael Vick will plead guilty in that federal dogfighting case. Vick's case put a spotlight on the cruel and inhumane sport that could be going on in your neighborhood. Animal advocates hope it serves as a warning for people involved in dogfighting to stop abusing animals.

These days Pit Bulls unfortunately have a very bad reputation. So many people have stolen and trained these dogs to be violent, the public perception is that they are killers, and unfortunately that's sometimes true.

"It's our society that's done that to those animals," said Donna Strickland, director of the Albany Humane Society.  She says animals come into the shelter almost every week that have been involved in dogfighting. "We need to stop this barbaric sport in our community."

Strickland says Pit Bulls aren't the only animals involved. Kittens, puppies, and other small animals are often used as bait. The dogs taste blood and are ready to fight to the death. "People who witness it and watch it and cheer it on, obviously are sick individuals."

Charlie Council agrees. He said, "I think it's despicable to tell you the truth to have an animal be hurt in any sporting event."

And he's glad to see people involved are being punished. "I think it's a terrible thing to torture animals and use them in that kind of sport," said Council.

Strickland said, "I hope people will understand they will be caught and punished. It is against the law." The laws of man, and the laws of nature.

Strickland says one way dog fighters get their bait is from ads placed in newspapers for free kittens or puppies. She says anyone giving away animals needs to screen carefully. She also encourages anyone who knows about the illegal sport to call police.

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