News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Lucky Symbol of other victims
DAILY Photo by Emily Saunders
Lucky Symbol of other victims
Luckyís story tells us many other dogs arenít so lucky

Is "Lucky" the right name for a dog that was mangled, with one leg left dangling only by a piece of skin, and had his mouth wrapped in duct tape before being left to die in a trash bin?

Yes, because this mixed-breed shepherd is one of the fortunate ones. Somebody found him Wednesday morning. He's getting free surgery and other care from a veterinarian, Dr. Steve Osborne of Decatur. Clinic employees named him Lucky.

Lucky's story has touched people near and far. They are sending money to help police identify his abuser, and some of them want to adopt him.

Lucky has every prospect of spending the rest of his life in a loving home. He will have physical and perhaps emotional damage, but he's unlikely to suffer that kind of abuse again.

Unlucky dogs are out there. The city of Decatur discovered one of them last summer, dead in a drainage ditch about a quarter-mile from where Lucky was found. That one, a bulldog mix, was wrapped in duct tape and a plastic bag.

The duct tape suggests that these two dogs were used as bait to train fighting dogs. Trainers tape bait dogs' mouths to prevent them from injuring the fighters.

Lucky may already have a loving owner, wondering where he is. Bait dogs aren't necessarily strays. Do you know of pets (including cats) that have disappeared? Dogfighters could have snatched them. National Geographic reports that "animal-welfare groups and law-enforcement officers say pets throughout the country are frequently nabbed for 'bait' ... The 'bait' is mauled or killed in the process."

And the fighting dogs themselves are victims. The Humane Society of the United States describes dogfighting — illegal in all states — as sadistic "entertainment" for human spectators. Two dogs, specifically conditioned and trained for this purpose, fight each other until one is no longer able to continue. Injuries are often severe or fatal — bruising, deep puncture wounds and broken bones.

So one reason that Lucky has quickly gained fame beyond Decatur is that he represents many other animal victims of dogfighters. People are watching, hoping that Decatur will find the people who did this before they harm more defenseless animals.

Dogfights do not take place in a vacuum. They need spectators to make money. If dogfights are being held in this area, more than a few people know who's conducting them. In the right hands, this information can not only bring Lucky's abusers to justice but also put some dogfighters out of business.

If you have heard something, share it by calling police officer Greg Sexton at 353-2515. Anyone can contribute to the Justice for Lucky reward fund at Wachovia Bank or Osborne Animal Clinic. Maybe this fund, which already contains thousands of dollars, will motivate someone to talk.

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