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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sharon davidson



I'm not normally a mean person, but in this case I think the people that do this to animals should be chained up and treated exactly like the animals were treated. Thank you for all you do for the animals.

Jennifer B

Jeanne, I agree with you 100%

Jennifer B

Brian, Nadine and Timmy's caregivers - Thank you-
My mother adopted a malnourished, homeless cat. I adopted a cat from the Humane Society.
I am so glad there are people that adopt help less animals.

al fox

Good luck Nadine & Brian,something good should/will happen to youse,etc.

Kathi Reid

This precious face will haunt me forever. I am so glad Timmy was saved and has a good life. I just wish and pray this would never happen to another pup. Thank you for all you do.


That poor baby, and others out there. I'm so glad I can contribute to these lovely animals. I have 4 dogs of my own, and have fostered, and rescued. God bless the animals!!! I wish I could take them all.


This pic is tattooed to my brain and it's ok. I am so happy to hear that Timmy is doing well! I know not every animal has a happy ending but its good to know there are people that care! I think that the punishment for dog fighting or any kind of animal cruelty should be, euthanize the human that deserves it!


I don't know what they get for dog fighting but it should be jail time-several years at least. Maybe that would stop the crime.


If people could learn to love like dogs do, forgive as quickly as dogs forgive, and give love freely................this world would look opposite from what it looks like right now!!!! Seriously ! I love my dogs more than most people I know and I have learned wayyyyy more from them than they will ever learn from me!!