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Let’s work together to end dog fighting

The first night that I spent volunteering at a pet shelter in Buffalo, a muscular pit bull mix was brought in and laid on the metal operating table. According to the senior volunteers, he was found in the basement of a vacant house. Two of his legs were broken, his flesh was torn from a whip or belt, his jaw had been fractured and his breathing was labored. I saw the pain in his eyes as I cradled his head in my hands and essentially watched him die.

The imagery is graphic, but it is important that the Buffalo community be aware that dog fighting is becoming more prevalent and must be stopped. Recently, a dead dog was found hanging in an abandoned home, and the SPCA public relations director confirmed after a necropsy that the dog had been alive when he was hung. Dogs that have been chewed up in fights have been dumped and left for dead in Cheektowaga cemeteries. City sanitation workers have found dead dogs in garbage totes in isolated locations. And the Tonawanda SPCA pulls in at least two chewed-up dogs per week.

The task force of the Erie County District Attorney’s Office recently reconvened to make plans to eradicate such despicable instances of animal abuse, but this requires both public support and participation. One of the task force’s priorities has been to increase the public’s awareness of the signs of dog fighting. In this vein, citizens have been informed that hot spots for dog fighting are in areas of the city that have many abandoned homes. Unfortunately, most individuals who participate in the atrocious act of dog fighting participate in other criminal activity, so fearful neighbors are reluctant to turn them in to the authorities. Nevertheless, citizens are encouraged to report suspected cases of dog fighting to the 311 Call and Resolution Center; your report can remain anonymous.

It is also vital not to forget the physical and psychological rehabilitation that abused animals must endure. We must band together to protect these lovable creatures. We must be their voice, their protectors and their companions.

Elizabeth Bacher

Buffalo