(ANIMAL RIGHTS/DOG RESCUE/PIT BULLS) Two new laws—one in Michigan and another in Delaware—will help protect pit bulls used in dog fighting. Originally, these two states ordered that dogs who were rescued from dog fighting rings had to be put down. However, under the new bills, these abused animals will be evaluated and given the opportunity for adoption.

Canines should not be punished because their heartless guardians trained them to be aggressive. Euthanizing dogs used for dog fighting prevents these mistreated and misunderstood animals from ever having a chance at a happy home.

Read on to learn more about how these two states are working to give pit bulls a brighter future. — Global Animal

All dogs deserve a fighting chance at life. Photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
All dogs deserve a fighting chance at life. Photo credit: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The Huffington Post, Arin Greenwood

Biscuits and belly rubs for two state legislatures! Michigan and Delaware are both considering bills that would give abused pit bulls a fighting chance.

Michigan’s Senate Bill 990, introduced last week, would save the lives of dogs pulled from dog fighting operations. It would amend the current law, making explicit that a rescued dog can be placed for adoption, if the dog is found to be “fit for placement and does not pose a threat to the public safety.”

A similar bill in Delaware is further along. SB 245 passed the Senate on June 19. Delaware law currently (and rather chillingly) mandates that seized animals be “disposed of in a humane manner.”

But under the new bill, dogs pulled from fighting operations would first be evaluated, then, if appropriate, placed for adoption.

“Michigan SB 990 and Delaware SB 245 are extremely important bills that give victims of cruelty a chance of a loving home,” Ledy VanKavage, senior legislative attorney for Best Friends Animal Society, told HuffPost. “Since the [Michael] Vick dogs we’ve learned that every dog should be be evaluated as an individual and deserves a fighting chance to be loved.”

If Michigan's bill passes, then rescue dogs will have the chance at being adopted. Photo Credit: momversation.com
If Michigan’s bill passes, then rescue dogs will have the chance at being adopted. Photo Credit: momversation.com

Indeed, previous to the 51 pit bulls seized from Vick’s infamous Bad Newz Kennels in 2007, animals pulled from fighting were routinely euthanized. As the New York Times reported at the time, PETA and many other groups argued that the Vick dogs should also be put down.

“These are celebrity dogs,” PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk said in 2008. “[Rehabilitation for such dogs] isn’t a good use of money, it isn’t the best uses of time. The Vick dogs are the least likely candidates for success.”

Best Friends argued otherwise — and won that battle, taking in 22 of the most physically and emotionally traumatized of the “Vicktory” dogs, as they came to be known.

The Vick dogs’ remarkable second acts, many as loving family dogs, has paved the way for other abused dogs to be considered as individuals rather than as inherently damaged and dangerous animals who can’t go on to live normal lives.

It's important to evaluate animals before placing them for adoption. Photo Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
It’s important to evaluate animals before placing them for adoption. Photo Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

A minority of states don’t allow dogs seized from fighting operations to be considered on an individual basis, as Best Friends says in a letter the group is suggesting supporters send to Michigan lawmakers (there’s a similar Delaware action alert):

There are currently only 13 states that have archaic laws prohibiting the adoption of fight-bust puppies and dogs, and Michigan is unfortunately one of them. Florida repealed their law in 2011. Indeed, even the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates passed a resolution calling for the evaluation and humane disposition of victims of cruelty, including fight-bust dogs.

Or, as VanKavage puts it:

“Punishing dogs for the crimes of their abusive owners is unconscionable.”

More Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/20/michigan-dog-fighting-bill_n_5515636.html?utm_hp_ref=animals

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