Activists upset at dog euthanization over rehabilitation

March 4, 2009 7:48:51 PM PST
Dogs that are mistreated or involved in dog fighting are often put down instead of put up for adoption.State law deems all dogs involved in dog fighting operations are dangerous and many counties require all dangerous dogs to be destroyed.

On Wednesday, animal activists held a vigil front of the General Assembly hoping to change minds and give the dogs a fighting chance.

Activists want lawmakers to make sure dogs get a fair shot at a second chance.

"We think there is something really wrong with that," animal activist Laura Gonzo said. "I think it's really important for people to know that these dogs are victims. They are not monsters. They deserve our compassion, not our prejudice."

It all comes after 145 dogs, including 75 puppies, were seized from Wildside Kennels in Wilkes County and euthanized last month.

It was a dogfighter's breeding operation, so automatically the dogs and the puppies were destroyed.

Now the humane society is pushing for a new policy. They are calling for all seized fighting dogs to be examined as individuals and not as a collective lot.

"We think any dog that enters the shelter system in North Carolina should be held to the same set of standards and given the same opportunities," Gonzo said.

And some lawmakers are showing support.

"Pit bulls have got such a bad rap out of all of this and it shouldn't be that way," Jackson County Representative Phil Haire said. "So I applaud the group that is supporting and trying to put more teeth into dog fighting."

Wilkes County Animal Control says the puppies that were euthanized did show signs of aggression.

Activists argue many of those puppies could have been rehabilitated --it's something they say they'll continue to fight for.


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