It was well over a year ago, in October of 2015, when authorities raided a dog fighting ring in Tilbury, Ontario, and seized the 31 dogs there. Animal lovers were thrilled that these dogs would be saved from a life of violence and terror. Many remembered the Michael Vick dogs and the raid that saved them in 2007.
Some groups like PETA and other national groups advocated for all 51 of the Vick fighting dogs to be euthanized. But when other groups intervened and the dogs were evaluated extensively, out of the 51 dogs, 47 were saved. A few lived at Best Friends Sanctuary in Utah, but many were socialized and rehabilitated and actually became therapy dogs working with children.
But a few months after the 2o15 raid, the Ontario SPCA filed an application with the court to euthanize twenty-one of the dogs seized. Many animal rights groups are fighting to save the dogs. Many rescues have offered to take the dogs and rehabilitate them, saying that after what the dogs have suffered, they deserve a chance to be happy and live a safe life. Unfortunately, the Ontario SPCA refuses to accept the offers of the rescues.
The Save the 21 website, created just for these dogs, posted:
“Our team of experts have had the opportunity to carefully review all behavioural assessments submitted to the court in support of the Ontario SPCA’s application to euthanize the dogs. When reviewing the assessments, we did not see dogs who were “too far gone” to receive help – we saw dogs who were scared, dogs who were excited, and even a dog who could not focus on her assessment because she was so worried about her puppies. Out of 21 assessments , only 4 dogs showed any form of aggression towards humans, and some, like dog #31 (whose assessment is pictured below), showed no aggression whatsoever.”
Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary is one of the groups seeking to help the dogs. According to their website, they have rehabilitated dogs who were forced to fight. It takes time and much patience, but as the Vick dogs proved, it can be done.
The court has refused to allow any of the groups to intervene in the court case, so the only way to save the dogs is to convince the Ontario SPCA to withdraw their petition. Celebrities have joined the fight — Richard Branson, Paris Hilton and others. A website is dedicated to helping these 21 dogs: Savethe21.com.
If the Ontario SPCA withdraws their request to euthanize the dogs, the owners of the dogs (whose case will probably not get to court until 2018) have agreed that they can be sent to the Dogs Playing For Life National Canine Center for Advanced Behavior Support.
To help, people can send an email to Kate MacDonald – the CEO of the Ontario SPCA – from this website.
On the website for the rescue Dog Tales, they posted:
“Dog Tales arrived at the Chatham courthouse prepared to present an alternative option for the dogs – that they be transferred to an advanced behavior support center in Wellborn, Florida – the DPFL National Canine Center. The facility will be operated under the guidance of Ms. Aimee Sadler, the founder of Dogs Playing for Life. Ms. Sadler is a internationally recognized trainer specializing in socialization and behavior modification. Her techniques have been derived from over twenty-eight years of professional work.
The DPFL National Canine Centre and Ms. Sadler have agreed to receive the dogs for further evaluation, training and/or behavior modification. Dog Tales will pay all costs including the cost to transfer the dogs to Florida, the costs associated with caring for the dogs including veterinary care, and the costs associated with National Canine Centre and Ms. Sadler’s team.”
Many people are fighting to give these dogs a chance. Without the support of many, all of the 51 Vick fighting dogs would have been killed. Most of them ended up living long lives in environments where they were safe and cared for. Many became celebrities in their own rights because of their resilient natures and loving personalities.
People are posting pictures of their dogs and cats on Facebook and on the Save the 21 website with the hashtag “Save the 21.”
Once a fighting dog does not mean always a fighting dog. All dogs should be given a chance.