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Nearly 400 dogs were saved from a nightmare situation in the summer of 2013, when authorities busted what’s believed to be the 2nd largest known dog fighting operation in U.S. history.
Three years prior, the Auburn Police Department initiated an investigation that soon involved the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On the morning of August 23, authorities executed 13 search warrants throughout Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.
The scenes were nightmares for the rescue team: hundreds of dogs marked by large scars, wearing heavy chains and in despair without access to water, food or shelter from the sweltering heat. Some were just a few days old, others up to 10 to 12 years. They were scattered across several properties in the south, some of which were hidden in ordinary neighborhoods.
Rescuers from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) saved 367 of these dogs, many clinging to life. PetSmart Charities was there to provide $139,000 worth of supplies, like crates, leashes and dog bowls, to help with the rescue.
Rescue turns to rehabilitation
While the alleged criminals in the case await their sentence, dozens of animal welfare professionals across the country are working to help the rescued dogs, both physically and emotionally.
The ASPCA said behavioral enrichments specialists are working with all the dogs while they await placement in loving, forever homes.
Ever is one of those dogs that has a new lease on life as a result of the rescue. The 2 year old pit bull made it out without many physical scars, but many would look at her emotional scars and not give her a chance. However, there are many professionals willing and able to rehabilitate dogs like Ever. You can read more about her progress here.
We can stop dog fighting with your help
In the mean time, we know there are still dogs that are victims of forced fighting. The ASPCA and HSUS will continue investigating these cases, and PetSmart Charities pledges to support their efforts when needed with Emergency Relief funding.
Animal welfare organizations, and the dogs, rely on people like you to speak up if you suspect dog fighting is happening in your neighborhood. Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Other illegal activities, such as drug and weapons violations, are often associated with dog fighting.
*Photos courtesy of ASPCA and HSUS