March 29, 2012
Preventing dogfighting by strengthening bonds between people and dogs
In the years that The Humane Society of the United States has worked to end dogfighting, we’ve learned two essential facts:
- People who value their dogs as beloved pets aren’t likely to enter them in dogfights.
- Effectively preventing dogfighting means addressing community-wide animal welfare issues.
It’s not just about dogfighting
Our End Dogfighting program has evolved since 2006, when we held our first training and agility classes to provide a positive alternative for people with pit-bull type dogs at risk of being—or already involved in—street fighting in inner city Chicago neighborhoods.
As we got to know people in these communities, we developed a keener understanding of how under-served they’ve been by animal care and welfare organizations. So we started offering a wider range of support: vaccinations, pet care information, veterinary wellness services (such as spay/neuter), health care and advice, etc. What began as a single-issue program expanded to become part of our community-focused Pets for Life program.
It’s not just about pit bulls
We invited people with dogs of all types to our training classes, and we welcome all pet owners and animal lovers to take part in the many components of our program.
Now that we’ve opened our classes to all breeds, we see even more pit-bull type dogs than ever, including some whose owners were previously leery of being singled out or “targeted.” We believe that our sincere, comprehensive relationship with our Pets for Life communities is a rising tide that lifts all boats, creating broad and long-lasting impact, and ending dogfighting along the way.
The bond makes the difference
It’s amazing what dog training classes can do: They strengthen the bond between an owner and a dog, but it doesn’t stop there. Through these classes, we’re able to connect owners with affordable or free veterinary services, engage the community in concerns about animal wellness, and create ties between pet owners and local animal welfare organizations and resources. The result is dogs who have become more valuable to their owners, owners who are less likely to fight their dogs, and a community that sees dogs as beloved pets. Everybody wins.