Frequently Asked Questions
about the Handling of Dogfighting Cases
Why donít you house fighting dogs until the court date?
The answer to this question is complicated.
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The State Police required their euthanasia in accordance with state law.
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State law considers fighting dogs contraband. The value of fighting dogs is similar to that of illegal guns and drugs; itís too dangerous for the staff of animal shelters to hold such valuable animals over such a long period of time. When police bust a dealer, the drugs and guns are not held as evidence, but are destroyed. The same is true for dogs in cases where evidence of a dogfighting operation is strong.
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On May 25 and 26, 2005, the LA/SPCA impounded 177 fighting dogs. If we housed these animals until the court date, more than 6,000 animals would be euthanized over a yearís time to make space for the 177 dogs. We donít believe itís reasonable to euthanize 6,000 animals to temporarily save 177 that will likely be euthanized by court order at the end of the case. We wasted 6,000 lives that may otherwise have found wonderful homes.
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Many professional fighting dogs live on a chain or in a pit. They have not been socialized with other animals and tend to move in circles when off the chain. Many of the animals recently seized from Dirty South Kennels urinated when touched. Their behavior indicated that they received little human attention other than being fed or walked into a pit. They were very excited to see humans.
Even a dog that is otherwise housetrained may exhibit excitement urination by leaving dribbles and puddles of urine at your feet and on the floor when greeting you. It's normal for some dogs to urinate when they become excited. They make it out like these dogs were completly neglected.
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If a puppy is held until the court date which usually falls one to two years after seizure, the puppy has grown up in a kennel environment and in a small space, with no social development. The dogís quality-of-life would be incredibly poor. We consider such treatment cruel just as we consider life on the end of a chain.
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How do you determine that the dogs are, in fact, fighting animals?
Information gathered during the investigation, confessions; scarring; and evidence at the site that goes beyond simple paraphernalia. In other words, a breaking stick doesnít mean a person is a dogfighter.
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How do you know that seized dogs arenít just pets?
A large number of chained pit bulls, combined with dogfighting evidence, are indicative of an ownerís intent. House pets are not confiscated unless they are not healthy or cared for. Interestingly, nearly all dogfighters that police have busted have a house dog that is treated very differently than the chained pit bulls in the yard.
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Donít you think that the dogs' ownerís constitutional rights have been violated by euthanizing his dogs upon intake?
We follow the law as written and adopted by the Louisiana Legislature. It is up to the court and legislature, not the LA/SPCA, to question the constitutionality of the law.
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Do you believe in breed banning?
No. We do not support breed bans and fight hard for the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT). We are one of the few shelters that adopt out the breed. In fact, our current office dog is an APBT and one of the directorís dogs is an APBT.