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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From the bottom of my heart, my thanks and appreciation for saving this puppy from this disgusting practice of animal abuse. Keep up the good fight you have my support in every way possible.


No more tears.. thank you


What a wonderful ending. I have had many dogs in my life, including show dogs. Never knew what great dogs Pits were until I began working in an Animal Emergency Hospital and one of the techs had one. A Pit puppy was brought in,
found on the streets. I was hooked from then on. Of course I took him home.

sylvia Whittum

I taught humane education in schools with a pitbull named Louie. I remember when i started that you sent me so many materials and videos to do my programs!! You are the best and thank you for doing so much to save this pup from the horrors of pit fighting.

Deborah Young

awww nice to see some get a Beautiful caring Home and owners ....
So Awesome to see some people still care about the animals , Bless you all for your time and effort for the Dogs ,without it I'm sure they would of suffered a terrible fate like the rest of the poor dogs brought in this Horrible Dog fighting ring !

Susan Granfield

I don't believe there can be anything human about the people who promote dog fighting and would put a 8 week old puppy in a chains. We need more crack downs and more severe punishment for these inhuman creatures who perpetrate these crimes.


My eyes are filled with tears. Pitties are wonderful dogs in the right hands. I makes me sick that this abuse exists in this world. How many more Timmys' could possibly be out there...


I'm ashamed to belong to the same species as the humans who do this kinda mess to animals ...there's a special place in Hell for people who do things like that to innocent animals (and they're all innocent to me). I have a pit that was abused by her previous owner and six months in jail wasn't nearly enough for him...

Brittany Madden

Dog fighting really is disgusting. How can you take that poor little puppy and force it to take part in a fight against a full grown dog? It is unbelievable what they do to these dogs. I'm so glad that those dogs got rescued and are being taken care of. More and more dogs that put into this fighting ring should be saved as well, and I am looking for more good stories to come. I'm also glad we are cracking down more and more on this subject.

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,.....