Group pushes for tougher animal cruelty laws after finding dog - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Suspected bait dog gets second chance at life

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The scars of a life in a suspected dog fighting ring are evident when you look at Gracie -- a 4-year-old pitbull. From her ears to her face an infection is spreading. She is emaciated. You can see nearly every bone in her body.

"We didn't think se would make it Sunday night. She was laid out in the floor. She wouldn't get up," Nikki Miles said.

She and a friend rescued Gracie Sunday. Miles wouldn't discuss how or where Gracie was rescued from, but did say the proper authorities have been notified.

A dog Gracie's age should weigh about 70 pounds, instead she tips the scales at about 45 pounds.

Miles says Gracie was used as a bait dog to train or entice other dogs as part of a fighting ring.

"It's hard and you see them like this and you go through all this with them and then when they're done and you place them in a home. They're forever grateful," explained Miles.  

Miles and other dog rescue advocates say Mississippi's dog fighting laws are weak and must be strengthened.

Pippa Jackson, Executive Director and Founder of The Animal Rescue Fund of Mississippi, says Gracie's story is another example of why state law needs to change. A second conviction of animal cruelty is a felony in Mississippi. 

"The people that do dog fighting have figured out that it's very, very profitable for them and the penalties are less than selling meth," Jackson said. "We're not trying to deal with farmers and their cows. We are trying to save the lives of these defenseless dogs and cats."

"This is ridiculous. They're helpless. They don't deserve this. These dogs are not bad dogs, it's the people behind them," Miles said.

Miles created a Facebook page to share Gracie's story. In just two days it received more than 400 "Likes."

Gracie is receiving medicine and food under Miles' care. She hopes Gracie can be adopted once the dog recovers from her wounds.

Jackson says an animal rights rally will be held at the Capitol in February.

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