March 14, 2009
Reformed Dogfighter Brings Anti-Dogfighting Message to Atlanta Youth
The HSUS' End Dogfighting in Atlanta Campaign Launches Pit Bull Training Team
ATLANTA — On Saturday at 1 p.m., The Humane Society of the United States' End Dogfighting in Atlanta campaign will launch its Pit Bull Training Team, which consists of weekly dog training classes available to youth at high risk of becoming involved with dogfighting. Based on the successful End Dogfighting in Chicago campaign, Atlanta's Pit Bull Training Team is expected to not only rescue dogs from the horrible world of dogfighting, but to also teach young men and women how to use positive competition and training skills to take pride in their dogs and themselves, rather than using their dogs as weapons.
"Pit bulls are extremely loyal dogs who can be extraordinary companions with proper socialization and obedience and agility training," says Jeff Jenkins, lead trainer for The HSUS' Pit Bull Training Team. "Positively shaping the innate intensity that pit bulls have is the key to developing a powerful bond between these at-risk youth and their dogs. The goal behind developing this bond is to change the culture of pit bull ownership in the urban areas where dogfighting is prevalent."
The HSUS has high hopes for End Dogfighting in Atlanta's Pit Bull Training Team. Healthy competition and respect earned through a pit bull's good behavior and awe-inspiring agility are the very sensations that can redirect a young person from being attracted to dogfighting.
One poignant example is reformed dogfighter Sean Moore, who was a revered dogfighter until the age of 18 and now works as an anti-dogfighting advocate for The HSUS' End Dogfighting campaign: "I used to fight my pit bulls when I was younger and for some time I was making money and earning respect. Today I think about the suffering that my dogs went through and I just need to explain to young people that dogfighting breaks the human spirit. All I hope is that my mistakes can help prevent suffering."
The Pit Bull Training Team's weekly dog training classes will take place at the New Life Community Center in Decatur, Ga. Amber Burckhalter of K-9 Coach, one of Atlanta's premier dog training companies, will serve as the Pit Bull Training Team's lead trainer in Atlanta.
The Humane Society of the United States launched the End Dogfighting in Atlanta campaign in October 2008. The program is designed to strike at the core of urban dogfighting by using the proven preventive methods of youth anti-violence intervention, dog training classes, humane education, community outreach and law enforcement partnerships.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.