Wednesday, April 8, marks the ASPCA’s second annual National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (NDFAD), and this year we are working harder than ever to spread awareness about this brutal form of animal cruelty. Read on to see how ASPCA staffers and supporters are lending their voice to this important cause, and find out how you can get involved, too!
At the ASPCA offices in New York City, staff members vowed to “Get Tough” on dog fighting by posing for photos with pit bulls and sharing them on social media using the hashtag #GetTough.
Luckily, you don’t have to be an ASPCA staffer or a professional wrestler to take part in National Dog Fighting Awareness Day. Here are three ways you can support NDFAD:
Get Tough. To join our #GetTough movement, simply take a selfie with one of our free, downloadable #GetTough posters and sharables, then post it to social media using the hashtag #GetTough.
Take Action. Sign our petition to tell the Department of Justice (DoJ) that you want to see more federal dog fighting prosecutions.
Donate. Support our work to defeat dog fighting by making a gift to the ASPCA today.
Animals around the country are counting on your compassion, your outrage and your willingness to stop their suffering. By taking one (or more!) of the actions listed above, you’ll be joining a growing group of animal-lovers who are dedicated to putting an end to this nightmare. Thank you for your voice!
Many of you may recall the story of Charlotte, a tiny Maltese/Shih Tzu who garnered national attention last fall when she was severely injured and left for dead in Staten Island, New York. The alleged abuser’s court case is still pending, but fortunately, Charlotte’s future is not. Here is a happy update on her story.
Charlotte was discovered in a trash bag near the Staten Island train tracks in September, 2014. According to allegations in court documents, her previous owner told police that she couldn’t afford to care for Charlotte, so she put her in the bag and threw her out of her car window. Charlotte was severely injured during the ordeal, and when she arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital she was in critical condition. At the time, she was less than four months old.
During her six-week stay at the hospital, Charlotte received treatment for a fractured skull, a fractured femur and brain trauma resulting from the blunt-force impact. Though public outrage surrounding the case was high, our primary goal was to help Charlotte heal and—most importantly—to place her into a safe home where she could receive the attention, love and care that she so dearly deserved. Fortunately, on November 1, we found that home in the form of an adopter named Dava.
After the adoption, Dava’s first priority was to help Charlotte forget her painful past. In addition to the new home, she decided to give the tiny snow-white dog a new name: Pip. “She’s quite happy,” Dava said in an update a few months later. “She is doing great and is completely a part of the family.” Although Pip does have some lingering issues from her brain injury, Dava is more than happy to help manage them and the petite pup is currently undergoing further testing. “She has gotten a lot bigger and is full of energy and personality,” Dava adds proudly. “We adore her, and we’re so glad that we adopted her.”
Although the case against Pip’s alleged abuser is still pending—in October, she pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals, misdemeanor counts of torturing and injuring animals, and animal abandonment—we are beyond thrilled that Pip is recovering physically and emotionally in Dava’s home. Whatever the verdict may be, we know that the Pip’s happiness is the greatest outcome of all.
"Growing up, my family and I lived in very poor, very dangerous areas and dog fighting was prevalent,” AJ says. “My dad, who has the biggest heart in the world, would open our home to pit bulls that had been rescued from fighting. We fostered four, and kept them until we could find new homes for them."
The fifth dog AJ’s family rescued was a puppy who was being bred for fighting. "We ended up keeping him, named him Mugsy, and he was a part of our family for an amazing 16 years,” she says. Mugsy’s sweet nature inspired AJ’s lifelong commitment to rescue dogs as well as her love of pit bulls. “I've never been more in love with a dog, he was so sweet and kind, loved small dogs, and cuddled like he was Chihuahua."
Alongside passionate animal supporters like AJ, we’re working to eradicate dog fighting by advocating for stronger laws and harsher sentencing for those who fight dogs and by assisting with raids and rescues. But we can’t do it alone.
In honor of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day on April 8, we are bringing you the inspiring story of a black Lab who was rescued from this horrific form of cruelty—and who went on to become a beloved family pet.
Nancy and Rick C. were making dinner plans one November evening in 2013 when they got a phone call from Charleston Animal Society (CAS).
“They asked if we’d be willing to foster a dog seized in an animal-fighting case,” says Nancy. Without hesitation, they packed up Buddy, their three-year-old black Lab, and headed to the shelter for a meet-and-greet.
The dog, an 11-year-old male Labrador/Shepherd mix, was known only as No. 205. He took to the sweet-tempered Buddy instantly, so Nancy and Rick took both dogs to their favorite restaurant—one with a popular dog patio—and ordered a basket of sweet potato fries to share with their new foster.
Dog patios and sweet potato fries were a world away from the life No. 205 had previously known: living in a filthy, wire pen in the middle of a sun-baked yard where dogs were chained and trained to fight. When No. 205 was rescued, his fur was missing in patches and he tested positive for heartworm and tick-borne diseases. He was also underweight and had no access to fresh food or water. His silvery-gray muzzle made it clear that he’d spent most of his life trapped in that terrible place.
“His name is Silver, but I also call him Silver Bear,” Nancy says lovingly. After fostering Silver for nearly a year, she and Rick adopted him.
Though Silver seemed eager to forget his painful past, it was clear that the senior dog had been through a lot in the first decade of his life. “At times he would cower—like he had been kicked or mistreated, or grabbed by his collar—but he’s much more confident now,” says Rick, who takes Silver on long walks at a nearby park. Silver also enjoys the couple’s lake house a few hours away, where he chases ducks and revels in new smells, along with Buddy.
“His past is still with him,” says Nancy. “But the bottom line is we love him.”
Aldwin Roman, Director of Anti-Cruelty and Outreach for CAS, says that all 12 of the dogs transported by the ASPCA to CAS following the raid have been adopted—some, like Silver, by their foster families.
In the past two years, Silver has settled in to his happy new life. An oversized, stuffed red chair is his favorite spot for lounging, and he’s the only dog ever allowed to sleep on Rick and Nancy’s bed.
“He’ll lie in the sun sometimes, wander just a little in the backyard, and then come back inside,” Nancy says. Now weighing 60 lbs.—up from 45 when he was rescued—he gets a daily dose of fish oil to keep his silvery-black coat shiny.
“We are just so happy he found us; he’s brought us great joy,” Nancy says, adding that although the first part of Silver’s life was torturous, “We want his last years to be his best.”
Every now and then, we come across a special dog who needs a little extra help finding a home. This week, we’re focusing our Adoption Spotlight on Dash, a friendly 4-year-old pup who is ready to find his forever family.
Dashcame to the ASPCA in April 2014 after being rescued by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Over the course of the past year under our care, Dash has become a staff favorite and has bonded with many of our Animal Care Technicians (ACTs). This lovebug is currently thriving as a foster in the home of ASPCA Veterinarian Dr. Jasmine Bruno, but he is eager to find a “forever home” to call his own.
Dr. Bruno reports: “Dash is an incredible dog who I would say is the perfect definition of a ‘gentle giant.’ All he wants is a companion that will give him the same amount of affection that he gives non-stop. He gets along great with cats and loves meeting new people and dogs, although he can be a little shy at first. His perfect day at home would consist of spending time sleeping on his favorite pillow, gnawing on his bully sticks, going for nice long walks in the park and playing with his rope toy.”
If you’re interested in adopting Dash, please call our Adoption Center in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Dash, please visit his profile page.