Can Attack Dogs Be Rehabilitated?

The largest dogfighting crackdown in history rescued more than 500 tortured pit bulls. But the next step is tougher: rehabilitating — and finding homes for — canines who have known nothing but violence

David Harry Stewart

With scars from bite wounds on her face and forelegs, Layla probably survived several prolonged fights

There's something especially loathsome about torturing helpless creatures for fun and profit. And evidence of torture is what investigators found on July 8, when federal and local authorities working in teams across eight states staged the largest raid in history against the underground dogfighting racket. Twenty-six people were arrested (five of whom are scheduled to be sentenced to as much as five years in prison on Dec. 8 in St. Louis, Mo.), and more than 500 dogs were rescued, most of them pit bull terriers.

The cruelty visited on the canines is harrowing. Some had been pulled behind cars to build...

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