And they did. The ironically named Humane Society of Houston, Texas took in 187 dogs after undercover agents and other investigators broke up "what officials described as one of the largest dogfighting rings in the country," and killed all 187. No experts were consulted and no temperament tests were administered ["[a]lthough some were not aggressive toward people"] — almost as if the Houston Humane Society were living in a parallel universe where the Michael Vick story got no airplay. Unbelievable.
So, to review: pit bulls bred to fight are among the most human-friendly dogs on earth. Many pit bulls bred to fight don't want to fight. Pit bulls that don't get along with other dogs can, with basic management, be great companions even in a multi-pet household.
Check out the poor dog in the photo: starving, ill, submissive and friendly, wagging his whole rear end at the photographer. [Photo from Texas Department of Public Safety via the NYT.] This dog isn't a monster. He isn't a separate species. He's on the small side: in good health he'd probably weigh under 40 lb, like most gamebred pit bulls. He's a friendly dog in desperate need of some good care. There are excellent foster homes in Texas and around the country that would have been glad to help this dog. Houston Humane killed him.
Ah, but they've chosen to devote their time and resources to "nice, adoptable" dogs. Isn't that best?
Sure. Let's kill all senior dogs, all shy dogs, all dogs over 20 lb, and all dogs that would be kicked off Cute Overload. Better yet, let's kill all stray cats and dogs and give the money we spend on animal shelters to homeless people. While we're at it, we can give all we own to the poor and eliminate funding for other scientific research until a cure is found for cancer. See how this argument spins on and on? So I adopted a pit bull instead of a "nice, worthy" dog — I didn't mail a check to Oxfam this month, either. Anything else you'd like to lecture me about?
Seriously, Houston Humane people — when you have knowledgeable rescue groups and experienced foster homes volunteering to help take dogs off your hands, and you tell those groups to take a hike, give us a break with the "death was more pleasant than what they had to exist for" excuses. You know better.
As for the dogfighters themselves — according to the NY Times article, they're hardly the upstanding citizens you read about in the Stratton books. But then, they never were.
In between screaming obscenities at the animals locked in combat, Sergeant Manning said, the participants smoked marijuana, popped pills, made side deals about things like selling cocaine and fencing stolen property, and, always, talked about dogs.And Houston Humane couldn't find it in their heart of hearts to let even one of those 187 dogs live. You've raised that "blame the victim" bar to a whole new level, Houston "Humane."
The fight usually ended when a dog refused to cross a line in the center of the ring to confront the opponent, known as “standing the line.” Such dogs were usually drowned or bludgeoned to death the next day, officials said.
“These guys take it very personally,” Sergeant Manning said. “It’s a reflection on them.”
Most of the dogs seized were kept outside in muddy yards, chained to axles sunk in the ground, with only six feet of tether and no shelter, beyond, in some cases, a toppled plastic 40-gallon barrel. All suffered from multiple parasites, veterinarians said.