Pit Bull from Dog Fighting Ring, Triple Murder Case, Adopted by Anonymous Family; Should Neighbors Be Notified?

| by Denise A Justin
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An Idaho couple has adopted one of the 64 pit bulls involved in a dog fighting operation which was discovered because of three murders on the property in Holbrook, Idaho, in April. “Despite the dog's rough past, they say it is a great pet,” reports a Salt Lake City, Utah, news outlet.

The couple is being identified only as Kyle and Janet and are quoted as saying they, “…don't want their neighbors to know that their new pet used to be involved in dog fighting because of the negative stigma associated with it.”

Is it just the “stigma,” or is it the potential for their neighbors to fear for the safety of their own animals and children that is behind the Pit Bull’s adopters desire to keep this secret from the community?

The Pit Bull adopted to this family is named “Tess” and they said they adopted her the first part of May, yet within only a few weeks the determination has been made that the dog is “excellent,” Kyle told "Pretty amazing what they went through and what they look like now. It's real amazing."

Here are the attributes KSL lists as attracting and endearing the couple and assuring them that Tess would be a good family member and neighbor, “"(She's) spunky, and just her personality," Janet said. "Every time we threw the ball and called her name, she would come to us."

Kyle and Janet, whose last names have been withheld for privacy, are quoted as saying they followed the triple murder in the news. When they heard the dogs were taken to the Idaho Humane Society in Boise, they wanted to adopt one and give it a loving home. They said the dog fighting “didn't bother them.”


No one knows better than Best Friends’ Animal Society that fight-trained dogs can be unpredictable and dangerous. Yet, Temma Martin with Best Friends Animal Society is quoted in the article about Tess saying, “…shelters and rescue groups do their best to find out a pet's history, but private breeders and pet stores aren't always honest.” "You really do need to be aware of who has your best interest as the pet owner at heart," Martin said.

Perhaps she is unaware that in an October 11, 2010, posting at Best Friends Utah sanctuary, they report that two of the Michael Vick dogs housed there escaped and killed an innocent pet dog. See:

The incident is described on, as follows, 'Yard Accident' at Best Friends Involving Two Vick Dogs Leaves Third Dog Dead:

“On Saturday, October 9, 2010, it apparently happened again. A Victory Pit named Tug chewed through the fence at dog run #9 at the Lodges. With nobody around, he walked over to Lodges #5, finding a very docile and sweet dog named Beans. He broke into that run, and Beans was no match for a fight-trained Victory Pit.

Tug then went to Lodges #2 and broke into Denzel’s run. A somewhat fairer fight, as Denzel was another Victory Pit. Sunday morning, there was blood all over the place. Beans’ head was found in the dirt. Tug was hurt, and Denzel had to be rushed to the clinic with life-threatening injuries.”


On April 4, 2013, Idaho police investigators discovered the dog-fighting operation from which “Tess” was removed when they went to a property in southern Idaho where three adults had been murdered. Two small children at the home were unharmed. The infant was still in her dead mother’s arms in an apparent attempt by the young woman to protect the baby girl. A 2-year-old was sitting on the porch alone. Someone went to the home to “pick up a dog” and called authorities.

Many of the 64 Pit Bulls found on the premises reportedly were either injured or had scars from prior wounds that appeared to be the type incurred during dog fighting. (Dogfighting, 64 Pit Bulls, Drugs and Triple Homicide Investigation Impeded by Secrecy, Says Idaho Sheriff)

Idaho Humane Society in Boise took in most of the Pit Bulls, although they said 11 had to be euthanized because of aggressive behavior that would not make them suitable for adoption. According to, “The Idaho Humane Society and the workers believe that the animals were part of a dog fighting operation.”

Three of the Pit Bulls were reportedly being transported to Los Angeles, California—an area where local Pit Bulls needing adoption fill at least 70 percent of shelter space.

Kyle and Janet, who adopted “Tess,” said they followed the case of the triple murders in the news and, when they heard about the dogs, “…they wanted to adopt one and give it a loving home.” They told that “the dog fighting didn’t bother them.” They said that, “… with proper care, Tess has been a perfect dog and the right fit for them.”

Although obviously very well intentioned, there was no indication of what they are doing to provide “proper care,” and whether that includes extra precautionary measures to assure that Tess will never be left unmonitored or unconfined when there is the possibility another dog might be in the area.

Workers at the Idaho Humane Society told KSL that the pit bulls had a lot of issues when they were rescued, according to the report.


Accordiing to the article, employees at Salt Lake County Animal Services said they have to perform a behavior assessment with the animals to test if they are violent.

"We kind of scruff them a little bit, you know?" said Hannah McNabb, animal behaviorist. "(We) scruff them to see if a little kid were to grab a hold of them, how would they react...With the behavior assessment, workers can find out if a dog or cat is good with children and what type of home to place them in."

This evaluation apparently does not consider the increasing number of accounts of unprovoked attacks by Pit Bulls on small children and even infants reported long after the dog has been adopted into the family.

Temma Martin with Best Friends Animal Society said shelters and rescue groups do their best to find out a pet's history, but private breeders and pet stores aren't always honest.

"You really do need to be aware of who has your best interest as the pet owner at heart," Martin said. "They're out there to make money, and you're far more likely to have things hidden from you when you're buying from some of these businesses."

We wonder why these two high-profile adoption organization—Best Friends Animal Society and Idaho Humane Society--would not also have that same philosophy of disclosure for the “best interests” of unsuspecting neighbors and insist they be advised that a Pit Bull known to have been part of a fighting operation is coming to their neighborhood?

How do you feel about this? If your next door neighbor adopted “Tess,” would you want to know?

Sources: KSL, Best Friends, Dogs Bite

Dogfighting, 64 Pit Bulls, Drugs and Triple Homicide Investigation Impeded by Secrecy, Says Idaho Sheriff)