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Thursday, October 29, 2009

In Memory of Houndy Girl

(The following update was included in one of our newsletters several weeks ago; if you would like to be on our mailing list, you can sign up on the upper right of this page).

It is hard to believe that three months have passed since we brought you the news of the "largest dog fighting bust" in US History. Even harder to fathom: the majority of those dogs are still being warehoused in St. Louis, awaiting the moment when they might be allowed to go to rescue. The numbers of dogs kenneled there have grown as those who arrived pregnant have now given birth to puppies. It makes us even more grateful for the efforts of Bad Rap, who invited us to join them in evaluating a small group of dogs who were fortunate enough to land at the Claremore Animal Shelter in Oklahoma. Eight of the twelve dogs there went to rescue, including our own Annie, who has been happily unwinding and enjoying an increasing social calendar that includes playing chase with Doug and wrestling with Beast, a four month old puppy that lives down the street.

Houndy Girl, pictured above with Ken Foster, wasn't one of the lucky ones. We don't have video of Houndy, because she was too busy kissing and sitting in his lap for Ken to get anything. But she passed her evaluations, and then waited for a possible placement in a foster home. During this waiting period (because there just aren't that many qualified homes waiting to take in a fight-bust dog), Houndy demonstrated some issues that hadn't been seen in the evaluation. In particular, she was fearful of women, in much the same way that many dogs who have been abused are fearful of men. She also didn't know what to think of children. Both of these are things that can be worked with, but with so few homes available, and so many other dogs waiting, the decision was made to give Houndy some special time and care, and then put her down.

It is important to recognize the limitations we have in saving these dogs; and it is even more important to recognize that their failures were not their own. Molly Gibb, who took good care of Houndy and called in tears when the decision was made, has a great, honest essay about the experience at the Bad Rap website.

But we also want to remember the others we met there, none of whom had any of the human aggression so often assumed in fighting dogs. In addition to Houndy, we lost Black Dog, Bailey, and Scarface.

Rest in Peace.


Kari in Redwood City said...

I am so sorry to hear about the losses but it is almost bittersweet because with each loss arises more opportunities for the ones still waiting and we know those who were lost got a chance and some love they had never seen before

melissa said...

so houndy girl was killed b/c she was afraid of women??? what the hell is that about?!?!

kfoz said...

Melissa, there were 500 dogs waiting for placement--and most of those are still waiting for placement these many months later. It was decided that it would be better to rescue those dogs that were psychologically sturdy rather than having to euthanize them in order to save a dog that might not be able to be easily placed in a home.

This is the kind of thing that, unfortunately, causes a lot of pot-stirring and gossip among rescuers who feel that every dog, no matter their temperament, should be saved. But when you are talking about the vast numbers in a case like this, there ends up being not enough room for even the more solid dogs, because there are far more dogs involved than there are vacancies. (And if anyone doubts that, consider that the Humane Society of Missouri is still looking for organizations that can take on fostering of the dogs they took in the same bust in July.)