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October 20, 2010

Special Delivery: 1,800 Miles with 18 Rescued Dogs

No other animal protection organization in the country has done more to combat dogfighting than The Humane Society of the United States. We are the only animal protection group with a dedicated unit working to stop this despicable industry, and have helped to craft and pass a raft of federal and state laws to crack down on the practice, to train thousands of law enforcement personnel in investigating this crime, to establish tip-lines and reward programs to provide incentives and opportunities for individuals to sniff out the perpetrators, and, in the end, to ensure that animal abusers face the stern punishment that they richly deserve.

For more than a month, The HSUS’s animal fighting team has worked alongside the Jefferson County Humane Society in southeast Ohio to rescue 200 dogs from a suspected dogfighting operation—the largest single dogfighting yard that we’ve ever uncovered. All of the animals were surrendered to The HSUS and these creatures have been in the care of our staff and volunteers for these past few weeks.

Trey, one of 200 dogs rescued from a suspected dogfighting operation in Ohio
Sarah Barnett
Trey, relaxing in his foster home.

The HSUS supports the evaluation of every animal confiscated from a fighting operation. And we have been working closely with rescue organizations, foster programs, animal shelters and individuals across the country to evaluate all the dogs and find placement for more than 100 (so far). Eighteen of those dogs were driven by HSUS staff last week in an all-night journey along the East Coast, stopping in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maine.

One of the dogs now in foster is “Trey,” a beautiful, 6- or 7-year-old red pit bull who was likely used for breeding fighting dogs. When we first met Trey, he was so scared he crawled on the ground to avoid humans, too fearful to even run away. Since then he has become increasingly open to affection and comfort. Only a few days after arriving at his foster home, we saw his tail wag for the first time—a huge victory for a dog who likely only knew pain and fear for the majority of his life.

There will be more to report about the dogs saved from this massive operation—but today we celebrate the successful outcome for Trey and the other 17 dogs on this most recent rescue mission. The groups receiving dogs include Animal Alliance of New Jersey, Second Chance Animal Shelter of Massachusetts, Kennebec Valley Humane Society and the Animal Welfare Society of Maine, Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in the D.C. area, New Hope Pit Bull Rescue in South Carolina and the Moore Humane Society in North Carolina.

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