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Saving Dog Fighting Victims
New program rescues seized pups in Chicago

Michael Vick's dogs got a lot of national media attention during his infamous court case. Most of them were fortunate to be placed in rescue, where they were rehabilitated and adopted out to loving families. But not all dogs from fighting cases get a second chance. Sadly, these canine victims are often euthanized.

The Court Case Dog Program aims to change that in Chicago. The program was established not long after 37 dogs landed in Animal Care and Control as part of the largest dog-fighting seizure in Illinois history. Most of the dogs were saved thanks to Project Safe Humane who happened to be at Animal Care and Control that day.

Inspired by how well the dogs were doing in their new homes, the Chicago Animal Care and Control, D.A.W.G. Court Advocacy, Best Friends, and Safe Humane Chicago teamed up to start the Court Case Dog Program.

Even better, the program pairs dogs with boys from Safe Humane's Lifetime Bonds detention center program. The boys learn how to interact with, care for, socialize, and train the dogs with positive reinforcement methods. The dogs transform into well behaved pets and the boys gain life lessons about compassion and caring for others.

So far the Court Case Program has found forever homes for eight dogs and has 17 more pups in training. Hopefully more communities around the nation will be inspired by this successful program.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by Sarah Ause.

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