Chicago Dogs Being Stolen to Use as Fight Bait
This is horrendous! Is there any way Dogsters can help combat this problem in Chicago? It sounds like its time for a canine neighborhood watch program. (Check out the Sunbear Squad site for for more info on that program.)
And before anyone thinks I am upset with the Pitts involved, I am absolutely appalled at the HUMANS perpetrating these evil actions. The Pitts are just as much victims as the Beagles in this story!
This story hits very close to home for me because, as some of you know, I have a Beagle. Fortunately, she has three big siblings to keep anyone out of the yard and her safe. But I do worry about some of the younger or smaller dogs in my neighborhood who don't have a big Annie or Sol to protect them.
This story ran on NBC5.com.
Grieving Pet Owner Suspects Dogs Were Killed
Dolton Man Thinks Beagles Were Used By Dog Fight Trainers
DOLTON, Ill. -- Marion Bush relied on his dogs.
Just as Mickey and Bootsie depended on him for food, water and exercise, Bush enjoyed the benefits all dog lovers cite: companionship, loyalty and that they "kept him active, doing this and that."
At 72, living alone and suffering from health problems that force him to breathe through an oxygen tank day and night, Bush relied upon those simple pleasures more than most.
So when thieves stole 2-year-old beagle crossbreed Mickey from his back yard last fall, Bush was devastated.
And when they came back in the spring and stole Bootsie, the 9-year-old, he was dogless, lonely and suspicious.
What shocked him even more was everyone he told about Mickey and Bootsie had a similar story about their own dog, a neighbor's or a family member's.
Bush, an irreverent but determined former railroad worker who introduces himself as "Mr. Bush -- like the president but without the money," developed a theory that sounded right to south suburban law enforcement.
His hunch: Organized dog-fighters are stealing smaller dogs from south suburban homes to use as bait for their pit bulls.
"My dogs were too old to be good for anything -- even rabbit hunting, which is what they are bred for," Bush said. "It's the only explanation which makes sense to me. Who else would steal an old man's dog?"
Although Bush said he has often seen "young thugs" with pit bulls near his home in the 14900 block of South Evans Street, Dolton police Capt. Phil Dubish said police were "not aware of any organized fighting of dogs in Dolton."
Cook County Animal Control director Dan Parmer, who every year deals with about 15 confirmed felony cases of dog fighting and believes dozens more go undetected, said, "It's quite possible dogs are being stolen for bait.
"We've seen it before, and I'm sure it still goes on," Parmer said.
"The problem is that when officers get a call to a dog fight, by the time they arrive, everyone has gone."
Harvey police recently removed 22 pit bull pups they believed were being bred for fighting from an alleged drug dealer's house in Markham.
That comes as no surprise to investigator Ray Struck, of the Cook County Sheriff's Department, which has helped bust dog fights with purses of up to $20,000.
"We've got five open cases of organized dog fighting we're looking at at the moment, and they're all in the south suburbs," he said, "There's nothing in the north suburbs, and although there's the odd problem in Chicago, there's nothing organized.
"The trainers steal bait dogs to teach their pit bulls to fight without risking injury.
"We rarely find the bait dogs because they'll burn them or throw them in a garbage can when they're done with them, but it does go on."
Bush's niece, Felicia Hughes, prefers not to dwell on that.
She had two cross-breeds, Charlie and Tinkerbell, stolen in March from her yard in the 200 block of Clyde Avenue in Calumet City.
She has seen mangled stray pit bulls in the streets surrounding her home -- a sure sign of dog fighting, according to experts -- and also fears her dogs were stolen as bait.