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February 5, 2010

Laurie Adams and Casa Del Toro

Advocate helps former fighting dogs

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Laurie Adams (left) and Rep. Linda Lawson hold pit bull puppies Sukie and Arlo. Anne Sterling/The HSUS

When 109 pit bulls were seized last August in a raid on a large Indiana dogfighting ring, HSUS state director Anne Sterling knew exactly who to turn to for help in housing and rehabilitating the animals: who else but Laurie Adams, who runs Casa Del Toro, a small, home-based pit bull rescue and advocacy group in Indianapolis.

Nonstop Dedication

"She is absolutely wonderful, an instrumental partner who works her tail off," says Sterling. "The dogs ended up needing to be held over three months. Laurie transformed her facility into a beautiful kennel complex and her group worked closely with us to provide enrichment for many of the dogs. Now that they've been released, she and her volunteers have custody of 25 and she's working on rehabilitating them and getting them into permanent homes."

Adams, who has been working on behalf of pit bulls for more than 20 years, is a former field supervisor and kennel manager for the Indianapolis animal control program. She quit her job last October to devote her energies full time to rehabilitating and fostering fighting dogs.

Casa Del Toro, which relies solely on donations, also provides dog houses and supplies to "outside dogs" while encouraging owners to bring their animals inside to live as family pets. She also educates the public on humane laws and on ending indiscriminate breeding and overpopulation through spay and neuter programs. Her organization is a primary advocate and partner with The HSUS in pushing legislation through the state legislature to make attendance at animal fights a felony offense.

On her website, Adams explains what motivates her to spend more than two decades working on behalf of the much-maligned and highly abused breed.

"If you have ever looked at the cruel and inhumane manner that the dogs have suffered; if you have ever been able to not turn your head when you see an animal's face torn up, tattered and bloody, on the edge of death; if you have ever said someone has to help that poor animal, well, I am one of those someones," she writes.

"I don 't expect any recognition or praise, just a prayer for the dogs. That, in a nutshell, is why I do what I do."

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