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See Spot, See Spot Killed

January 23rd, 2003, 02:30 PM
See Spot. See Spot Killed.
By Sergeant Steve Brownstein
of the Chicago Police Department
I have been a Chicago Police Officer for over 13 years, most of it patrolling in high crime areas. Over the last decade, an increasing number of gang members nationwide have turned to dog fighting as a preferred form of gambling and recreational activity. Although dog fighting is a felony here in in Illinois, it is done with disturbing frequency. This practice is not only cruel to dogs, it's harmful for children. Recently, when I spoke before a group of fifth and sixth graders and asked how many children had witnessed dog fights, every hand in the room went up.

The dog fighting business is a bloody, gruesome spectacle in which one animal tears the other apart. When dogs lose fights, owners who are angry about losing money on them often throw their animals into garbage dumps or put them into vacant apartments to die slow, agonizing deaths from infection, starvation, or dehydration. I have recovered many such dogs, still alive, in varying states of mutilation.

I have seen a Rottweiler mix breed with the skin of her face torn off; a pit bull puppy whose stomach was ripped open, a shepherd mix breed whose penis was shreds. I have also seen corpses of dogs who were burned alive for losing fights.

Children see these things, too, and the danger is that they will emulate the violence around them. I have stopped children trying to make dogs fight, and I know of a group that swung a puppy around by a rope, snapping its neck. One fifth grader, describing to me in graphic detail a pit bull fight to which his uncle took him, told me that when the losing dog urinated and defecated upon itself before it died, he was the only one in the crowd who did not explode with laughter.

To grow up sane and self-respecting, children need to learn to treat other creatures animals or human with decency, compassion and humanity. This should be taught in school programs, but to be effective, the lessons have
to be manifest on the streets.

Because humane society investigators do not have full law enforcement powers, it is unrealistic to expect that they can stop this cruelty unaided. Joint efforts must be made with police officers specifically trained and assigned to stop animal abuse.

Some ask, with all the problems we face, what matters the fate of dogs? But to me, the question is, what kind of society do we become if our children lose their humanity

Rest In Peace Rose