Animal advocate on what's ahead for dogs seized in dog fighting raid

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A local animal advocate is speaking out on the chances that the dogs seized last week from a dog fighting ring can be rehabilitated.

Last week 367 dogs ranging in age from a few months to 12-years old were seized in a raid that spanned Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. The raid was the culmination of a three-year investigation initiated by the Auburn, Ala. police.

In all 10-people were arrested and hundreds of thousand dollars were seized as well as weapons and drugs.

Though the dogs are now in a better place and in better hands, the question is what happens to them from here. Katherine Sammons, of the Mississippi Animal Advocate Group says there is a common misconception that fighting dogs can't be rehabilitated and she pointed to the Michael Vick case a few years back. She says only one dog in that raid had to be put down because it could not be rehabilitated.

"Fighting dogs are never people aggressive. You have to think they have these dogs in a ring with a human referee all the time, so these dogs are actually raised to be extremely human friendly," said Sammons. "An aggressive dog that's aggressive to people would not last long in the fighting business."

Sammons says the issue you have to look at is aggressiveness to other animals and even that can be overcome.

Another roadblock for dogs to rehabilitation is the conditions the dogs were living in. Many of them were found to be living in deplorable conditions. Sammons says when you add those type of conditions to the mix it makes rehabilitation more difficult, but not impossible.

"When you get dogs into the shelter that have been raised in neglectful situations there are behavioral problems to overcome. Just about in every case these problems with patience and time and the correct application of skills and training knowledge these problems can be overcome."

The ASPCA, the HSUS, and several other animal welfare agencies assisted in the removal of the animals. They were taken to several different emergency shelters where they are getting medical attention and behavior training.

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