Zack was one of about 150 Jack Russell Terriers and Shiba Inus we rescued from a Michigan puppy mill earlier this year. After rescue, he needed surgery on his eyes—but he also needed extensive behavior help.
ASPCA behavior expert Kristen Collins was at the rescue to help remove dogs from the property, and she noticed Zack right away. He shook violently as he crouched in terror, his eyes wide. When Collins approached his enclosure, he bolted for the broken crate that was his only shelter from the elements.
"He looked like the most fearful dog on the property," Collins remembers. She knew Zack's best hope was intensive treatment at our Rehab Center for puppy mill and hoarding survivors.
When Zack arrived at the Rehab Center, his behavior was no different than the first time Collins saw him quake with fear at her approach. He cowered in the back of his space, ears flat and body low. And yet—after a few days, though he remained skeptical about human touch, Zack began to tentatively wag his tail at the sight of familiar people.
Today, Zack has been adopted and is part of a loving family. We wanted to show you the amazing progress Zack made during his time with us—please watch his video below.
On Friday night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 aired a special segment from our temporary facility for the hundreds of dogs rescued in last month’s massive dog fighting bust. The ASPCA, along with responders from The Humane Society of the United States and other response groups, assisted with the removal of nearly 400 dogs, and we are now providing care and behavior enrichment in a temporary shelter at an undisclosed location.
Get an inside look of the dogs on their road to recovery with CNN’s Gary Tuchman and an interview with ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker.
With your support, we’ll continue to provide the rescued dogs with the extensive attention they so desperately need. Stay tuned to aspcarescue.org for more news to come.
Last week, we told you about our massive dog fighting bustthat spanned multiple states and resulted in the removal of 367 dogs and puppies. We gave you an inside look with our on-the-scene video, and now we have a first-person account from the rescue. Below is a guest blog by Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations & Response Team, reflecting on what he found during the raid and the terrible fate of dog fighting victims.
When I first walked on the property, I stared across the yard and saw more than 100 dogs, most of them tied to heavy log chains, anchored to dilapidated dog houses. The dogs ranged from old to young, living on a worn dirt ring that likely had seen generations of dogs come and go to a sad fate.
Most were chained nose-to-nose to their neighbors to ensure continuous arousal.
I first thought of what a grim fate many of these dogs would have met without our intervention that day. But as I looked at a young, weeks-old puppy with one glance, and an aging, 10-year-old senior with another, my thoughts quickly turned to the long, lonely and painful journey of a fighting dog’s life.
This cycle begins with being chained at such an early age with little to no positive human or animal interaction. The burden continues with heavy chains, often with additional weights, to drag around their entire lives. The constant noise, arousal and anxiousness push them towards aggression to or from their yard mates. If they don't respond, their life may end quickly, but if they do, they have sealed their fate of a long, torturous life.
Their only reprieve from the chain is death or brief release to be tested against another dog, eventually going back to the chain with little attention to their wounds. What follows is weeks of intense training and significant human interaction with the person who will commit the ultimate betrayal and force them into a barbaric battle for entertainment and profit. If they survive, they go back again to the chain: A vicious cycle that could go on for years until these dogs finally have no value or fight left in them and are discarded.
Our responders are still on the ground, so please stay tuned to aspcarescue.org for more news to come. Follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #367rescue.
As many of you know, last weekend the ASPCA and responders from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) removed more than 360 dogs from dog fighting properties in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas. Many are emaciated, with scars and wounds consistent with dog fighting. They’re spending their first days learning what it’s like to receive adequate care.
The dogs and puppies are safe now. They’ll never suffer in extreme heat without access to water. They’ll never be chained to cinder blocks and car tires again. And they’ll never be forced to fight.
Right now, the ASPCA is providing shelter, veterinary care, healthy food and much-needed attention and affection to hundreds of dogs and puppies. Our work is far from over. It’s a massive undertaking that will require months of food and supplies and man hours to ensure these dogs get the best possible care. Veterinary professionals, behavior professionals and so many others will be involved.
Please take a moment to watch and share our rescue video. You’ll see some of the dogs we rescued, as well as the real conditions these dogs were forced to endure.
We’re happy to report that these dogs are undergoing veterinary care and behavioral assessments, and for the first time, will begin to experience life without being forced to fight.
The atrocities of dog fighting are never easy for us to stomach. Many of the dogs we rescued in the raid had been forced to wear heavy collars. As ASPCA responders worked to remove the collars, they came to an especially tiny pup. The metal buckle on his collar had rusted and could not be undone. Even bolt cutters could not cut through the metal, and eventually, the collar had to be gently cut open with a knife. Finally, this small pup was free from the burden of the rusted collar that he should never have been forced to wear.
With your support, we’ll continue to provide the rescued dogs with the extensive attention they so desperately need. Stay tuned to aspcarescue.org for more news to come. Follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #367rescue.