Cedar Bend Humane Society honored with national award

The Cedar Bend Humane Society (CBHS) has received the Champion for Animals award from The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on April 2. This award is an exceptional award that the CBHS has been honored with for rescuing dogs from dog fights and giving them another chance in life to start over in loving homes with caring families.

Dog fights have been a nightmare for dogs and animal lovers over centuries. “As of 2008, dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. People convicted with this crime face fines and jail time,” the volunteer and outreach coordinator of the CBHS Jordan Kruger said.

Although this bloodsport has been outlawed, because of the low-punishment, some still manage to train, sell, abuse and kill dogs. There is an ongoing list consisting more than 20 different dog breeds that have a reputation in the dog-fighting sector because of their endurance, fighting abilities, power and strength.

“It is hard to understand why people choose to participate in this cruel and vicious activity. I would guess that the most common reason is that the people are driven by greed. Those who put dogs in the rings can make thousands of dollars off the fights as well as the breeding rights,” Kruger said.

These animals not only suffer during or after the fight, but their whole lives. Most of the time the puppies are born into this savagery and are constantly chained. They are not taken good care of, regularly left without food and water, beaten and the only time they face human interaction is when they are surrounded by people who enjoy violence and bet for their lives.

At the end of their fights, these dogs are not taken to a vet and are forced to suffer the results of their untreated wounds. The fights usually end with one of the dogs dying unless the owner has a salvage value.

Since there isn’t a system that tells where these fights are happening, the accountable use a lot of help from the caring community. “Often, authorities are alerted by citizens about suspicious activities that suggest dogfighting is happening in an area. Law enforcement and anti-cruelty teams from animal welfare organizations are sent in to apprehend the suspected individuals and to seize all of the animals from the property. Because these dogs have been bred to be aggressive, there are risks to those handling them. When there is a seizure of dogs from a situation like this, professional behaviorists are brought in to determine whether these dogs can be rehabilitated or if they will need to be euthanized due to aggression,” Kruger said.

The common use of pit bulls not only affected the specific dog that has been used for fighting, but the whole breed in general. People have a huge stigma against pit bulls, which has developed a broad portrayal of them being a dangerous and aggressive creature. People have held protests against these dogs, and some countries, including Germany, Great Britain and Denmark have banned pit bulls.

Since 1910, the CBHS has shown the Cedar Valley that pit bulls aren’t grumpy dogs, and they can actually become amazing family dogs when taken good care of with their pit bull-friendly policies.

“Pit bulls are becoming a very common breed, and we are pit bull friendly, so we do receive quite a few. We take in quite a few from this area, but we also take in hundreds of dogs from the ASPCA, some from overcrowded shelters, but many that have been rescued from dogfighting cases. Any dog can behave aggressively, not just pit bulls, but the high usage of pit bulls in dog fighting rings and the way people train them has created a stigma that all pit bulls are mean and aggressive. That’s really not the case. It’s all about the training they receive and the way they’re treated. If a dog is given love, proper training and socialization as a puppy, they can develop into a well-behaved, sweet dog. Many of the pit bulls we’ve taken in here at CBHS are some of the nicest, most ‘snuggly’ dogs I’ve ever met. Pit bulls actually make great family dogs,” Kruger said.

Kruger stresses the importance of educating people about animal abuse. “The more people know about the horrors of animal abuse, the more we can do to combat it,” she said. She said it is also important to report to the authorities right away if any situation where the animal is not taken care of properly.

She also encourages volunteering at the CBHS.  “Dogs are never purposefully mean, and if they are aggressive, it’s because a human bred has trained them to be that way. We need to take care of these wonderful animals who possess the gift of being able to love unconditionally despite the hardships they’ve endured,” Kruger said.

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