Abused Dogs Get a Break: There’s a “New Sheriff” in Town

by Mary Haight on July 10, 2010

Remus and Brutus got a reprieve.  In what’s been described as a groundbreaking decision, the two dogs who were held as abuse victims of a dogfighting bust are off to their new home in a New York sanctuary thanks to something new this year: The Court Case ProgramBest Friends and Safe Humane Chicago devised and head the program with the collaboration of D.A.W.G. Court Advocacy and Chicago’s Animal Care and Control.  Dogs had been held as evidence for as long as two years and destroyed when a guilty verdict was reached. Today dog candidates evaluated as having the right stuff to be family pets or who would be otherwise manageable in a sanctuary setting are socialized and trained for success.

For 19 months Remus and Brutus have been in limbo after the November 2008 arrest.  Judge Victoria Stewart put the three men arrested on probation for 24 months with anger management/sensitivity to animals training, and no contact with dogs during probation.  Each of the three convicted were ordered to pay $3,612 for the rehabilitation of the dogs, and, as I understand it, defray costs of care over a lifetime, plus $3,000 each for the care of the dogs over the past 19 months. This is a precedent-setting ruling for Illinois law that will help these victimized dogs get the care they deserve. 

There is a range of behavior that passes the evaluation bar.  Not only those who are considered adoptable are saved, but those that may not do well within the confines of home life also get a chance. That’s big. Remus and Brutus were transported thanks to Best Friends and will be spending their days at the Spirit Animal Sanctuary.

Sanctuaries are self-supporting organizations and because of that usually house less than 100 animals.  Are there sanctuaries in your area or any you have ever dealt with? What can you share about them?

What’s happening in your area to help evidence dogs get a new life? Got a story you’d like to share?

 (Source and Brutus’s Photo: Best Friends )

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I really like that the fines went directly to rehabilitate the affected dogs. Vick's burnished his image, for example, by contributing to HSUS which spends a lot of money on PR (needed more than ever when Vick got involved!) and has a mixed record on saving pit bulls. This sets a great example; hope we see more of it!


Our next door neighbor had a rescued pit bull. The man who bred it wanted to make the dog into a fighting dog, but the dog had too gentle a nature. So the guy was going to shoot it. Our neighbor's friend found out about the dog and bought him from the man for $100. When the friend had to move, he gave the dog to our neighbor, who had him for years. As I said, the dog was both sweet and gentle -- but HUGE. The only time he ever growled happened when he thought my neighbor's wife was being threatened. The dog died a few months ago from heart failure. Our neighbors were devastated. Unfortunately, no one thought to bring charges against the man who bred the dog.


Making the scum pay for the rehab of the dogs is a great idea. Giving them long prison terms wouldn't really accomplish much.

Eric Goebelbecker
Eric Goebelbecker

That's a huge development! Not sure anything like that is going on he In NJ.


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