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Executing the victims of animal cruelty


Having convicted dogfighter Ed Faron of cruelty to animals, Wilkes County, N.C. officials, as planned, proceeded to execute about 145 pit bulls — both those seized from Faron’s Wildside Kennel operation and the puppies born in the months before his case came to trial.

If that’s not hypocrisy, what is? In the case of Wilkes County v. Ed Faron, Faron will serve his time and get out of prison, even the paperwork will be maintained in dusty courthouse archives, but the dogs were instantly terminated. When do we execute the victims? When the victim is a pit bull.

Few people see that irony more clearly than Shelia Carlisle — a dog lover, blues singer, and Facebook friend of mine who was one of the few volunteers allowed to help care for the many dogs taken from Wildside Kennels.

“It’s so crazy and insane that there’s just a blanket rule to kill all these dogs. When we look back on this we’re going to say that our attitudes were prehistoric,” Carlisle said.

Carlisle got involved with pit bull rescue when she adopted her dog Phantom, who has dogfighting in his past as well, if his scars were any indication. “Phantom may have been a fighting dog, but now he’s like a brand new puppy. He came to me with no doggy social skills, and he seems to be learning how to play, not be afraid and just be a dog for the very first time in his life. I believe with all of my heart that the authorities are dead wrong when it comes to blaming and then killing the victims of the dog fighting bloodsport…the dogs.”

Carlisle recounts the efforts those caring for the Faron dogs went through in a story on the Best Friends website.

The seized dogs were taken to an undisclosed location at the beginning of December and held for months as evidence in a warehouse, where dozens of puppies were born. After Faron pleaded guilty to the charges, all the dogs were destroyed, as the judge said the state’s dangerous dog law required.

Carlisle reached out to Best Friends, the Utah animal sanctuary that took in and rehabilitated many of the Vick dogs. Best Friends tried to file an injunction to halt the executions, but was told it was too late. Best Friends, the Humane Society of the United States, and other interested organizations plan to hold a meeting in April about coming up with a new policy for animals seized in raids of dogfighting operations

With the Faron dogs, unlike as in the Michael Vick case, there was no attempt to evaluate the dogs, no attempt to look at other options.

And based on what she saw of the dogs, Carlisle says, that is a shame.

“Once they learned to trust us, they quickly came around, it was obvious these were good dogs. You could pick up a young dog or puppy and he would put his paws around your neck and would love to be held and hugged.”

“Knowing now that pit bull dogs are seized from dog fighters only with the intention of killing those dogs without even giving a single one of them a chance, sickens me,” Carlisle said. “The dogs are the victims and should be saved … not doomed.”

(Photo courtesy of Best Friends)


Comment from Anne-n-Spencer
Time February 26, 2009 at 9:25 am

Shelia, if you’re reading this, my hat is off to you! Thank you for being there for the dogs.

Comment from Mary Haight
Time February 26, 2009 at 11:30 am

Yes, I heard from someone who had been at the farm and said those dogs were like the “wiggle butt” kiss-your-face dogs we have at home.

Since news of the good reports from the Vick dogs and other anecdotal evidence from less famous cases was known, shouldn’t this policy change been in the works already? I could have departed from my inner cynic and believed they were doing this from motives other than financial had they done so.

My point is, pressure should continue and we should all be aware of the tendency for this group to backslide once the money is coming in. I know they do very good work elsewhere, but the area of domestic animals and the HSUS endgame agenda needs to be monitored by us all.
I intend to stay engaged.

Comment from baltimoregal
Time February 26, 2009 at 3:27 pm

I was absolutely heartbroken about this execution of these puppies and dogs. Sick, really.
I am glad to hear a solution is in the work but it will be a cold day in hell before I trust the Humane Society again. I rescued a lovely homeless pit bull this weekend and was terrified to take him to a shelter because of this! Luckily they assured me they do not participate in the whole-scale slaughter of animals.

Comment from jbsibley
Time February 26, 2009 at 10:50 pm

The number executed is put by most news organizations at either 145 or 146. Most news accounts put the number seized in the raid at approximately 127. The difference between those two numbers is the number of newborn puppies, born since the raid, executed with all the rest with the legal assistance of the Humane Society of the United States.


Comment from dogkisser
Time March 2, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I have a blog, and I wrote a post saying that I thought that perhaps Michael Vick was the best thing that ever happened to pit bulls. And now when these 145 dogs were executed – I couldn’t believe that this is still continuing to happen – after all we’ve learned from the Vick dogs – I hope that now these animals will have not died in vain at least – and something like this will never happen again. I know that the law in North Carolina says that any dog who has been seized from a dog fighting ring must be killed – but if HSUS hadn’t told the judge to kill them – without any evaluation – perhaps there would have been a different outcome – and these dogs would have survived while the law was working towards being changed. There is so much evidence now that former fighting dogs are saveable – how can anyone deny that they are worth at least being evaluated for a chance at life?

Joan Sinden

Comment from Shelia
Time June 4, 2009 at 8:18 pm

I just went to a yard sale for Friends For Animals (BurkeCounty) this past Saturday. It turns out that it was held in the very building that the Ed Faron pit bull dogs were held and then later killed by Wilkes County, the Humane Society of the U.S. and N.C. dangerous animal laws. When I was leaving the huge building where the 145 dogs were held and where my husband, a friend and I lovingly cared for them, I suddenly saw in my mind the different areas of the building where those precious dogs were in the kennels and stacks. I visioned Vader, Duchess, Blues singer , Angel and Rodney…exactly where they were held hostage until the day that the authorities came in and killed them all…puppies, nursing mothers…every single one now dead. I cried on my way home and then my girlfirend and I sat on my porch and remembered each precious dog and we got upset all over again just like it happened yesterday. While time marches on and poeople forget, I don’t think I will ever get over the horrific murder of precious, innocent dogs that wanted so much to live, play, be loved and be happy.