CANINES with COURT GUARDIANS
Once I read a short story by Marjory Stoneman Douglas about a dog fight, which she set in a dank place outside Miami.
The character, Agnes, a Latin teacher and humane society volunteer, rushes away into the night from a party when she receives a tip about the fight. Dressed in a black satin evening gown, she sneaks up on the action and makes her announcement when she’s inched in plain sightj next to the cage holding the bobcat that is to fight a dog or two or quite a few: “Take those dogs out of here. I am a county deputy sheriff and I order this fight stopped.” It does stop, with an assist. But I always wondered what happened to the dogs.
In the Michael Vicks dog case (federal prison 23 months, $928,000 to evaluate and care for the dogs) there is a story of serene and sometimes silly days for some survivors.
Because of an unusual agreement in the Vicks case, the Best Friends Animal Society sanctuary in Utah is the retirement home for 22 of the abused dogs that lived.
In a front-page New York Times feature, writer Juliet Macur deftly walks us through what dogs endured under the Vicks’ scheme and what their lives are like now. These are, of course, only the animals still alive at Bad Newz Kennels, a place on the serenely named Moonlight Road in Smithfield, VA. This is quite a beautiful story. Many in rescue think the lives these dogs lead today will make future euthanizations of pit bulls seized from fights less automatic.
In addition to Best Friends, Bay Area Doglovers Responsible About Pit Bulls and at least seven other rescue groups are involved, with about 20 other of the dogs in foster families at many places in the U.S.