It’s difficult to even imagine the horrors dogs need to put behind them after coming from a world of violence, but now a new law in Rhode Island will give those rescued from dog fighting a second chance to move on and experience an entirely different kind of life.
Before this, dogs with a dogfighting past were automatically deemed vicious, unadoptable and euthanized, including puppies and others used for bait, but a bill introduced earlier this year by Representative Joseph Shekarchi and Senator William Walaska aimed to change that and get dogs evaluated on an individual basis.
The bill, which was just signed by Governor Gina Raimondo this week, now requires that “any dog lawfully seized as a result of dog fighting or trained, tormented, badgered, baited, or used for the purpose of unprovoked attacks upon human beings or domestic animals be placed in the care of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for the dog’s physical care and suitability for transfer to an appropriate rescue organization or adoptive home.”
“These poor animals are victims and deserve to be treated and cared for like victims, not the unredeemable monsters that some claim them to be,” said Rep. Shekarchi. “They are not beyond saving and we should not abandon them due to the horrific and unconceivable actions of their previous owners. I’d like to thank my colleagues in the General Assembly and Governor Raimondo for giving these dogs a second shot at a good and loving life.”
There are many dogs who can prove that statement to be true, but there’s one Rhode Island resident in particular who really brings the message home: Handsome Dan.
Handsome Dan is one of the dogs who was saved from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in Virginia and sent to Best Friends Animal Society in Utah. He eventually made his way to the state after being adopted by Heather Gutshall and Mark Shoutzenberger, where he now shares a home with two human siblings and other animals.
“So many people have rallied together to have this group of dogs evaluated individually, and because of what they found in the evaluations and the subsequent success of this group of dogs, it’s now commonplace that victims of dogfighting are evaluated individually,” Gutshall told NBC10.
Handsome Dan and the others who were saved with him have truly gone on to become ambassadors for pit bull type dogs and showed us all they deserve a chance. Handsome Dan, meanwhile, also inspired his adopters to start Handsome Dan’s Rescue for Pit Bull Type Dogs and he is now is closing in on having 600,000 fans on Facebook.
To find screening dates, check out The Champions. To learn more about Handsome Dan and his rescue, visit Handsome Dan’s Rescue for Pit Bull Type Dogs and find updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.