The Face of Dog Fighting Gets the Life He Deserves

Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 11:00am
Pit bull puppy attached to big chain

You may have seen this photo before. It was taken last August at the scene of a dog fighting raid, and it has been used in ASPCA advertisements all around the Internet and on TV. It can be hard to look at—a small, vulnerable puppy tied to a heavy chain, alone and cowering in fear. With just the quick snap of a camera, this single moment captured so much about the fatal sport of dog fighting, and this puppy became the face of abused animals everywhere.

That puppy’s name is Timmy, and he was one of 367 dogs rescued from a multi-state dog fighting ring that spanned Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas. After the raid, Timmy and the other dogs were taken to a temporary shelter where ASPCA responders gave them medical examinations, behavioral assessments, and the care and love they had previously been denied.

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But Timmy’s story doesn’t end there. This sweet puppy was placed in foster homes that helped train him to become a well-adjusted pet. His final foster parents, Brian and Nadine DeCicco, just couldn’t give the little pup up and adopted him this past May. “We didn’t have any concerns about bringing a dog who had been associated with fighting into our home,” says Brian. “We’ve both had dogs our whole lives and know that they can reflect the way they are treated. Both of our previous dogs were pit mixes and they are just so unbelievably affectionate.”

Happy pit bull laying on bed

Timmy now lives with Brian and Nadine in Maryland, where he is safe, happy and well-fed. “These dogs show amazing resiliency and forgiveness after being treated so poorly. They just want to be loved,” says Brian. Timmy spends his days snuggling with his family, snoozing in his “pita pocket” bed, playing tug-of-war with the neighbor’s Mastiff, and letting out his puppy energy—energy that at one time was restricted to a heavy collar and chain.

It’s hard to believe that Timmy is the same dog from that first photo. Fortunately, he will never have to worry about growing up to become a fighting dog, like so many generations of dogs tied to that very same chain before him.

Timmy’s new life is picture-perfect, but it would not have been possible without the support of animal-lovers like you. When you donate to the ASPCA, your gifts have a real, tangible effect—and Timmy is living proof of just how much we can accomplish when we work together.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of puppies just like Timmy still out there waiting for their rescue to come. Will you be the one to help save them? Make a donation today.

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See more photos of Timmy’s rescue and of his happy new life here.

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Justine Fehler

I think you are all brilliant and thank god there are people willing to help these poor dogs let's hope that one day with the support of many we can end dog fighting once and for all and all the people who are responsible for dog fighting hopefully you will get what's coming to you,.....


Thanks to everyone who works to save animals! Timmy's puppy picture is heartbreaking. He was so tiny and so scared, but look at him now! I love the way his ears seem to have been outlined just to show them off. Thanks, ASPCA, for all you do and kudos to Timmy's people, Brian and Nadine. I live in KY where we recently had a primary to determine candidacy for a US Senate seat. The guy from my hometown of Louisville actually stood up and said that he supported cock fighting claiming that it's a cultural tradition here. If he thought it would get him the "Good Old Boy" vote, he was mistaken. He lost by a huge margin. You can see how far we have to go with such stupid attitudes prevailing. We all have to keep working to end organized animal fighting.


The before picture of Timmy made me want to cry. I just get sick to my stomach when I see how people can treat animals. I am so proud to know I donate to the ASPCA and so proud of all the people who work hard to save these animals. I wish I could do more.


This picture was always on my mind and in my heart. I have prayed endlessly for all of these poor tortured babies. My prayers have been answered for this precious one.


Thank God for the ASPCA and the wonderful peopke who rescue these beautiful animals. I will never understand the cruelty of so-called human beings. We have two rescue dogs, and they are the light of our lives. We are retired now but give what we can.


Good job saving them I donate when i can