It was one of the biggest dog stories of 2007: Pit Bulls taken from Michael Vick’s dog fighting operation escaped euthanasia–how seized fighting dogs routinely end their sad lives. Instead, the dogs were given a chance.
Breed experts visited the dogs and sounded out their sociability and fear levels. Dogs who fared well were sent to experienced rescue groups and foster families across the country for training, healing, and eventually, adoption.
It was a bold move, and a controversial one. Many people, including some animal rights groups, argued that fighting dogs are too damaged to ever be safe in a home.
So when DogTime learned that a few of those dogs were just across the bay from us under the care of BAD RAP, a local pit bull education and rescue group, we had to go see for ourselves. Last winter we watched, and videotaped, as four Vick rescue dogs strutted their stuff in a BAD RAP manners and obedience class. Like many, we were delighted and well, a bit surprised by the dogs. Although we’re fans of the beleaguered Pit Bull Terrier, it was amazing to see that dogs raised in such cruel conditions were well behaved, eager to learn, and affectionate.
Three of those four dogs are now adopted into loving homes, a small miracle in a miserable time for the breed. Their adopters hope that by telling the dogs’ stories, more fight bust dogs–and Pit Bulls in general–will get the chance to be judged by their own temperament and behavior, not by their breed or the hands they were unlucky enough to fall into.