Dogs Rescued From Fighting Off To New Homes

SPOKANE VALLEY — Eight pit bulls rescued from a dog fighting ring in Spokane Valley are on the open road headed to St. Louis, Missouri, where they’ll start new lives.

This was a very tough goodbye for everyone involved in the rescue, as it’s a bittersweet ending for staff & volunteers at SCRAPS.

On Wednesday they had to say goodbye to eight pitbulls they helped nurture back to health.

A year and two months ago, Callie was one of eight dogs scarred, underfed, and part of a dog fighting ring busted at a Spokane Valley home.

“Callie was the most severe, with scars up and down her legs, on her head, her ears, her back legs,” says animal patrol officer Nicole Montano.

But there she was on Wednesday, eager to meet the crowd.

“It’s been a night and day change in the physical appearance,” Montano says. “The dogs have all gained weight. Some of their scars are being covered by hair. When they came to us they did have a skin infection, which we treated. They’re happier and healthier, just in general.”

Animal welfare advocates call them the “Great Eight”, after they were seized as evidence in a dog fighting case back in April, 2007 It led to Washington’s first animal fighting convictions.

“It’s truly a remarkable story,” says SCRAPS volunteer Carmel Travis. “The more stories we get like this, the better for all the pit bulls across the nation.”

For almost 14 months, they’ve been living at the shelter run by the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, or SCRAPS, making it hard for the agency to take in other dogs and costing the county about $16,000.

That is, until Wednesday. The group of eight are all on the move. Their destination is St. Louis. It’s all thanks to help from SCRAPS, the Best Friends Animal Society of Utah and one volunteer from Pullman.

“They had no voice,” Travis says. “They deserved a chance and they live today.”

They’re headed to Stay Rescue. a shelter specializing in pitbulls. Getting there is only half the battle, as the dogs still need to be rehabilitated in foster homes.

“Rather then a shelter situation like this,” Jeff Popowich of the Best Friends Animal Society says, “they’ll actually go into homes with people that know how to work with dogs, bring them around, socialize them and all that.”

The hardest part for everyone on Wednesday was saying goodbye.

The trip takes about 27 hours from Spokane Valley to St. Louis. After the dogs finish their rehabilitation in foster homes, they may be put up for adoption, depending on their progress.