Animal experts say dogs seized in fighting ring can be rehabilitated

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Around eighty dogs, some of which had been chained to treadmills for hours at a time as their handlers used live chickens as bait, were seized from a dogfighting operation Monday.

Federal authorities arrested two suspects from Kansas in the operation, that included training pit bulls to fight in Kansas, Missouri and Texas.

Shannon Wells, who works in association with a group called Game Dog Guardian, in addition to her role as director of operations and life saving programs at the Kansas City Pet Project, said these animals still have hope.

She travels to various states where the officials bust dogfighting operations and helps dogs heal.

"It is a slow process. You don't want to move too fast. By taking things slow, you can make sure that you can introduce an animal safely over time," Wells said.

Wells evaluated around 150 dogs in the last year. She said about 70 percent of the dogs she worked with defied the stigma of being a fighting dog and went on to find loving homes.

"This is a senior dog, her name is Emma Lou. She was from a dog fighting bust that we worked with in San Antonio. She is a senior dog, she was skin and bones when we worked with her," said Wells.

Now Emma Lou is doing well and is in a foster home in Kansas.

"Some have never fought, some of them have mild to moderate aggression. In those cases, it is a matter of determining what would be the right resources to connect those particular animals to," said Wells.

Even after the dogs are ready for placement, they have a tough reputation to overcome.

"We think that all dogs deserve a chance no matter their breed or their age if they  have any medical issues, we try to find homes for all of them," said Tori Fugate with the Kansas City Pet Project

Animal advocates encourage people to keep an open mind.
 

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