On August 9, 2010, a routine traffic stop was made by Buena Park, CA, police officers for a van without a front license plate. Investigation revealed it was transporting 12 pit bulls to Mexico, apparently for dog fighting.
The animals were all young and described by South East Area Animal Control (SEAACA) Captain Aaron Reyes as “beautiful dogs,” some identified as coming from “notorious dog fighters—some with prior felony convictions.” With the help of The Humane Society of the U.S., microchips were traced to locations across the country. Orders showed that the driver, who appeared to be an employee of a “legitimate animal transport service,” had picked up pit bulls ranging in age from puppies to three years in Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, Kansas City, Seattle and Long Beach, CA. Further investigation is being conducted, but the dogs are now safe and receiving special care at an undisclosed location provided by South East Area Animal Control (SEAACA). www.seaaca.org
The federal Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007 provides felony penalties for interstate transfer of animals for fighting. http://www.hsus.org/legislation_laws/federal_legislation/cruelty _issues/animal_fighting_law_signed.html
Although the van’s driver and passengers were not charged and “seemed to be caring for the dogs the best they could,” according to Ca pt. Reyes, the reason given for the police inspecting the van was the “god-awful smell.” This would indicate that the conditions for the animals were less than sanitary and certainly less than should be reasonably expected by a professional service.
Does this mean we need stricter laws and requirements for businesses that transport dogs across the country (which is also becoming a common practice for “rescued” and shelter pets)?
The most notable motto for pit bull sites (rescuers/breeders/clubs) is “Punish the deed, not the breed.” Or, we are admonished to “Punishthe owner for the deed, and the dog involved [this presumably refers to an attack or other errant behavior], but never the breed!” How does this fit into the fact that it is often the OWNER who punishes the breed? Unless sending a van load of dogs to be torn apart and die in a bloody pit is not considered “punishment.” How does punishing the owner AFTER the pain and torture of a staged dog fight help the dog(s)?
Dog fighting and fighting-dog-breeding busts are now a regular occurrence in every state in the U.S. The animals are often kept in horrific conditions and are found wounded, infected, starved or brutally killed either by a dog in combat or by the owner (remember Michael Vick?)
So why do proclaimed pit bull lovers and rescuers oppose any type of special protection for these helpless dogs FROM THEIR OWNER? What’s wrong with being “breed specific” to protect a breed that is routinely chained in yards, neglected and abused? Isn't it time to enact special provisions for owning pit bulls so that the dogs can be assured a quality life?
If a city or state adopted the policy of a “protection permit” for every pit bull--requiring notification of any change of ownership or relocation of the dog, PLUS an annual veterinary check to assure the animal was well treated--would YOU support it?