Monday, December 13, 2010

Charlie the Pit Bull Finds Refuge on Long Island

By Rita J. Egan, Smithtown Patch

Local animal rescue group welcomes a pit bull saved from a violent Baltimore dog fighting ring

After a long car ride from Baltimore, Maryland, Charlie the Pit Bull was welcomed to his Long Island home Saturday afternoon.
Waiting eagerly for him at KTFO Studio in Nesconset were founding members of Guardians of Rescue – Robert Misseri, Joanne Tamburro, John Collins, Brian Sperazza, Steve Gagas, Steve Raft and Craig Fields.
A few weeks ago Charlie was saved from a dog fighting ring in Baltimore by Eric and Kate Vocke of Baltimore Bully Crew. According to the couple, the violent dog fighting has become increasingly popular in the city.
Mr. Vocke said as they were driving to New York, they received a call that another dog fighting ring was busted in Baltimore. They were told there are six more dogs that are in bad shape like Charlie.
The Vockes have heard of a pit bull with a machete in his head, and there have been dogs that have been set on fire after these fights. While some canines don’t survive the fights, others do and continue to be abused.
“The spirit and the forgiveness of these dogs, humanity can learn a lot,” said Mr. Vocke.
Due to his sweet disposition, Charlie, who is about six years old, was used as a bait dog. According to the Guardians of Rescue, when used as bait, canines have their teeth pulled out with pliers and their nails cut all the way off so they don’t fight back. From fights, half of Charlie’s tongue is bitten off, and he has injuries over 75-percent of his body and face.
The Long Island group is a non-profit that comes to the rescue of all animals. Lately they have taken a special interest in Charlie and pit bulls like him. According to Misseri, pit bull fighting is becoming more popular on Long Island.
Once Charlie fully recovers, he will work with the group to educate young people of the horrors of dog fighting.  The Guardians of Rescue want to make sure the problem doesn’t grow in our area like it has in Baltimore.
Mr. Vocke said in Baltimore children are paid to steal dogs and are exposed to dog fights at a young age. Many by the time they are 13 years old will enter their own dogs in these violet competitions.
Misseri said, “Dogs are suffering at the sake of sport and money.”
Despite popular belief, pit bulls can be friendly animals. Unfortunately many people train them to be attack dogs. Misseri said that with a responsible family, a pit bull attack would never be an issue.
The group’s public relations representative Alyssa Nightingale said when they do become aggressive, “It’s always the owners.”
The Vockes brought two other dogs, Layla and Caraco, to Long Island and the Guardians will take them in as well. Both canines have been injured in dog fights, however not as badly as Charlie.
As for Charlie, Mr. Vocke said, “Don’t cry for Charlie – learn from him.”

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