Friday, March 6, 2009

A Moment of Silence

Please go to the link above to see the video and pictures with this article. And keep a tissue handy.

Stop BSL
Candlelight Vigil Held for Innocent Victims
March 5, 2009 : 10:04 PM
Emotional remembrance a hopeful beginning for change in North Carolina By Pam Hay, Best Friends Network Volunteer Last night a group of animal advocates came together in Raleigh, North Carolina to attend a candlelight vigil in memory of lives lost - in this case 145 canine lives - who were killed through no fault of their own, but because of an unjust law.
Heartbreaking to all involved, the purpose of the vigil was twofold; to mourn the loss of the euthanized dogs, including approximately 70 puppies, as well as to help make sure this does not reoccur. The event’s message was clear; change the way dogs are treated once seized from fighting operations. Give them the opportunity to be individually assessed by experienced and reputable organizations and give them the chance they deserve - the one that was denied to these innocent victims.
Laura Gonzo, a Best Friends volunteer, commended law enforcement for taking dog fighting seriously, but criticized the mandatory execution of dogs without due process, instead encouraging change in the current North Carolina law, so that future seized dogs have the right to be given the potential for a loving life.“We are here today to send a message to our legislators that these are not monsters, but dogs that deserve our compassion; dogs that deserve to be evaluated as individuals, dogs that deserve the same chance that we would give any other dog,” noted Gonzo. “Any dog that comes into the shelter system should be held to the same set of standards and given the same opportunities. All homeless dogs, no matter where they are found or who has failed them, deserve a second chance.”Shelia Carlisle, Best Friends volunteer and foster parent for several of the victimized animals, described how loving and playful these innocent puppies were and how her heart was torn to pieces when she had to give them up only to then be destroyed. She had recently reached out to Best Friends in an attempt to try and save the puppies she had carefully nurtured.(click on the image to the left to view a video chronicling the vigil)“This is a dangerous pit bull dog that must be killed,” noted Carlisle as she held a photo of Grimmy, one of the many puppies born from the seized dogs. After being fostered from near death to health, his foster mother was “told that she must bring him back to the warehouse because it was time for him to be killed.”
A bell was rung 145 times as attendees placed 145 collars on a dog bed, in memory of each canine who had crossed. There was not a dry eye at the site, as Carlisle then sang Wayfarer Stranger by Johnny Cash with true emotion in her voice. Even one of the journalists reporting on the event noted, “This was done with dignity and was very powerful.” This travesty of justice was the direct result of North Carolina’s antiquated laws that state all fighting dogs seized be catagorically defined as dangerous. There are so many misconceptions about the American pit bull terrier, as well as other dogs that fall into the category of "bully breeds." The public is led to believe that fighting and viciousness are "in their blood." This is not true; these dogs are just as innocent when they are born as other breeds.What makes dogs dangerous is not their breeding; but the people behind them. They are not lost causes. In fact, there have been many instances that prove just the opposite. Many are capable of being socialized to become loving, loyal pets, even where there are children and other animals in the house. Bad laws and policies regarding fighting dogs must be changed so that these dogs can be evaluated individually, not as a whole, and given a second chance at a good life.“This vigil became an event because of the deep conviction of the volunteers,” noted Ed Fritz, Best Friends Pit Bulls Campaign Specialist. “It is the outpouring of support from people at times like this that validate my commitment to this issue.”It is the hope and prayer of those attending that the public continues to push and give voice to the voiceless - the most unfortunate victims of dog fighting operations.“These animals were beautiful, they were funny, they were playful, they hugged us, they wanted us to pick them up. We fell in love with them and we tried so hard to save them, and there was no way…,” Carlisle said to the crowd. “I just pray to God that this never has to keep going on and happens to other animals.”
How You Can Help:
• Do not let history repeat itself. North Carolina residents are urged to contact your state Senator and Representatives to request a redraft of North Carolina Statute NC 67-1 - 4.1 (a)(1).
• Find your state legislators here by inputting your zip code + 4 (scroll down page, right hand column).
• Insist that the following language from North Carolina Statute NC 67-1 - 4.1 (a)(1) be removed from the definition of Dangerous Dog: “Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or any dog trained for dog fighting.” Please also remind your legislators that all dogs are individuals and should be evaluated as such, not grouped together by breed.
Media coverage:
Pit Bull Lovers Hope To Change State Law To Allow Dog Rehabilitation
Activists upset at dog euthanization over rehabilitation
Group hopes to save dogs from euthanasia
Group holds vigil in hopes of changing NC dog fighting laws
On the Internet, everyone helps your dog

Posted by Jennifer Hayes, Best Friends staff
Photo credit: taken by Clay Myers, Best Friends photographer

Please write to whomever you can to get this law changed.


  1. You know I don`t think some people get what this is about.

    I`m reading comments on some Boards by Pit Bull "supporters" justifying this because there would be no place for most of these dogs to go anyway.

    That`s not the point as I see it.
    It`s about the message.
    There may NOT have been places for all these dogs to go and there may NOT be places for future rescued dogs,but killing them en masse without evaluations says they were killed due to the fact that they were dangerous.

    The reason evaluations are SO important is that the perception of these rescued dogs will change even if some,many or all need to be put down because there is no place for them to go.

    The end result may be the same for the dogs but the REASON will NOT be because they were dangerous.

    No one is saying that anyone should attempt to place rescued Fight Bust dogs or any other dogs that fail proper evaluations by qualified people.

    Hopefully in time there will be fewer and fewer Fight Bust or abused dogs that need rescuing as more Fight operations are shut down.

    It really is about the message.
    They deserve to be evaluated as individual dogs regardless of whether or not they can be absorbed by Recues.

    90% or some other percentage put down because there is no place for them to go is a very different message than 100% put down because they were dangerous.

    That`s the way I see it.

  2. Hey PP,

    Absolutely right! Good point. It is the message. It's about what we are telling our communities about these dogs. And I agree no one is saying that they should just all go out to the public without proper evals.

    The point also as you said is to eliminate this activity from our society. It doesn't belong there.

    Getting rescues together to pull together resources and come up with ideas is also helpful here.

  3. *heavy sigh* you have to be a resident of NC to contact the state legislators? I think they need to hear the message loud and clear from all parts of the country that "All dogs need to be evaluated as individuals" and the laws need to change to reflect that.


  5. Anon 1:35pm
    You don`t even have to be a resident of this galaxy to contact State Legislators about this travesty or any other Breed Specific related issue.
    If you know about it,you can contact them.

    They need to know that residents of Earth(at least)are watching them and we all care.

    I was informed once upon a time that I was an outsider when I contacted a certain Legislator in a certain State about BSL.
    I informed that Legislator (politely) that there are NO outsiders if you expect tourist dollars and you know that old saying "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" doesn`t.
    BSL spreads like a cancer to neighboring communities,States and Countries.
    That`s why it concerns everyone no matter where you live.

  6. Video Tribute to the Slaughtered Wildside Kennel Dogs: