Dog lovers rejoice as the State of California recently decided that dogs seized from illegal fighting rings should no longer be considered "vicious" without a behavioral assessment, paving the way for hundreds to be given a second chance – and a new home. Until the new law was discussed, several dogs were labeled as being "vicious" based purely on their history. This classification has led to many being deemed unsuitable for rehabilitation, and needlessly put down.
"Once it goes into effect, all of these canine victims of cruelty will get a second chance and potentially be able to have a new beginning," explained San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Director of Advocacy and General Counsel Brandy Kuentzel. Called AB1825, the legislation allows animal shelters, veterinarians, and other professionals to judge a dog's behavioral issues prior to labeling them – a huge leap forward in the treatment of abused animals.
What is a vicious dog? According to state law, the term "vicious" refers to a dog that hurts a person without provocation. However, many dogs taken from fighting rings have previously been labeled as "vicious" without showing any intention of attacking a human handler. Often euthanized by law enforcement and shelters, or confined from the public domain, such dogs now have a chance to prove that they're suitable pets.
Alongside the bill, Governor Jerry Brown also signed legislation that will ban shelters from using carbon dioxide to euthanize animals – a practice that is needlessly cruel.
Have you ever come across a pup taken from the illegal dog fighting industry? Do you believe that such dogs can be rehabilitated and re-homed with time and patience? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!