Despite being rescued from a (alleged) dog-fighting ring on Long Island last January, the future looks to be a bleak one for 15 pitbulls (ages 6 months to several years) who now sit behind bars at the animal shelter in Port Washington. All have been deemed unavailable for adoption, and no release date has been set as they wait for the outcome of a criminal case their owner, Monica Christopher, 38.
Christopher has been charged with three counts of prohibition animal fighting (a felony) and two misdemeanors (see http://tapeunit.com/article/three-pitbulls-seized-from-dogfighting-o…)
“Until the court clears them, they are in limbo,” commented shelter director Sue Hassett. “But they are hanging in there. This is the best they’ve ever had it.”
Finding new homes for the dogs once they are cleared will depend a lot on their fighting history, and many of the older dogs, who are accustomed to fighting will be difficult to rehabilitate, noted Suffolk SPCA chief Roy Gross. “It can be done, but it would be very costly, not to mention very time consuming.”
“They are like fine athletes; they’re in training to fight and that’s what their job is,” added Sandra DeFeo, executive director of the Humane Society of New York. “If they are trained to kill…do you want them?”
Although 50 pitbull mixes rescued from a fighting ring based in a Bronx apartment last year have since been adopted. another factor working against these dogs is the time spent behind bars. The longer they spend in the shelter, the harder it will be to turn them around. More often than not, however, dogs that have suffered the kind of abusive lives these dogs have get euthanized because they are not safe to put up for adoption.
“They are living an institutional life; it’s like pitting kids in reform school,” commented Melinda Plasse, president of upstate Cropseyville-based The Animal Support Project, who strongly believes that the “shorter the sheltering the better.”