A pit bull who has led a precarious life for years – discovered in a massive Canadian dogfighting ring, scheduled for execution by animal welfare authorities and then freed by court order – is now on the way to a very unexpected second act: K-9 police dog training in the Philly area through the Throw Away Dogs Project.
“These dogs were ordered to be killed simply because of what they were labeled as,” the Throw Away Dogs Project wrote in an announcement of pit bull Dallas being accepted into the program. “He will enter our program and start his journey in becoming a police dog.”
Dallas, who arrived on Saturday in the South Jersey area for training, is one of 31 dogs rescued in 2015 from a huge dog-fighting ring in Ontario, Canada, where pit bulls are outlawed. The dogfighting ring that was operating in Chatham, Ontario led to five people being charged criminally. Three of the pit bulls were euthanized for medical reasons, and seven were deemed suitable for rehabilitation. The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) had to seek a court order to euthanize the remaining 21 dogs.
#Ontario21 advocates for victims of dogfighting
The OSPCA said at the time that expert dog rehabilitators determined the dogs “were the most game dogs they have ever seen. They are not pets, their focus is to kill.”
But a legal challenge to the euthanasia order got widespread support under the #Ontario21 hashtag, and two years later in 2017, the dogs were ordered released to pit bull advocacy groups.
One of those was Pit Sisters in Jacksonville, Florida, who received 14 pit bulls, some of them born at the OSPCA’s facility to a dog who was pregnant when she was rescued. Throw Away Dogs was connected to Pit Sisters to evaluate potential candidates for their rigorous K-9 training program. After a visit to Florida, Throw Away Dogs Project founder Carol Skaziak and head trainer Bruce Meyers said they evaluated a pit bull named Dallas as a great candidate for their training program.
“Dallas is certainly on a mission and ready to show the world he can make a difference despite his tragic past,” Throw Away Dogs said.
The Throw Away Dogs Project also picked up Munchkin and Eddie, two other dogfighting survivors, for evaluation toward potential placement.
Throw away dogs trains strays into K-9s
The Throw Away Dogs project was started in 2014 to train stray dogs into K-9s by co-founders Carol Skaziak and SEPTA K-9 cop Jason Walters, inspired by Walter’s former K-9, the late Winchester, a German Shepherd who was brought to K-9 training straight from a shelter.
Since 2014, the Throw Away Dogs Project has trained some 24 stray dogs to become police dogs and donated them to police departments in need of a police dog across the country.
They proved that pit bulls can serve as K-9s earlier this year, after Wildflower, a stray pit bull, completed their narcotics detection training and was graduated to the Wetumka, Oklahoma police department.