In our last e-news letter, we celebrated the landmark appearance of a pit bull
on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That image seemed to signal that change was in the air.
And just a few weeks later, after a much anticipated meeting in Las Vegas, we witnessed a substantial shift in the way the animal welfare community views pit bulls. At long last, the HSUS (Humane Society United States) opted to end its decades-old policy that had once encouraged agencies to destroy the victims of dog fighting operations without evaluation or hope of rescue. Blog Post
After 10 years of rallying from BAD RAP's corners of the world for the dogs' right to be treated with compassion, I admit that I went back to our hotel room and wept after that meeting...It was such an important milestone for the dogs, and such a long time coming!
This formal acknowledgment from the animal welfare leaders who recognize pit bulls as victims rather than accessories to the crime of dog fighting opens new doors for the dogs, including a focused commitment from some of their best advocates. By the time we left Vegas, six organizations including ours had signed on to serve as a task force committee with the big job of designing better ways to help the dogs. That group was dubbed the 'Victims of Cruelty Working Group.'
The working group is made up of one representative from each of these six organizations: Animal Farm Foundation, ASPCA, BAD RAP, Best Friends Animal Society, HSUS and - an important partner - the National Animal Control Association.
We held our first meeting in St. Louis, Missouri during NACA's National Conference on May 29 and began outlining the work we have to do to create positive change on the ground. Each member of the committee brings a unique perspective to the multi-faceted challenges that will come with meeting the needs of untold numbers of canine victims each year. It's a daunting task, but after knowing so many dogs from these busts, there's no question how incredibly important it is to ALL pit bulls that this group make the very best use of this collective commitment.
We've agreed that committee members will post progress reports so all interested parties can stay informed. Below is a statement from that first meeting.
I offer my deepest gratitude for the support that keeps BAD RAP and its animal welfare partners grounded in this important work. Thank you!
Executive Director BAD RAP