Monday, November 3, 2008

The HSUS Launches 'End Dogfighting in Atlanta' Modeled After Successful Chicago Program

The Humane Society of the United States launched End Dogfighting in Atlanta, a program modeled after the successful End Dogfighting in Chicago pilot program. End Dogfighting in Atlanta will strike the core of urban dogfighting by using proven preventative methods such as youth anti-violence intervention, dog training classes, community outreach, humane education and law enforcement partnerships. As part of the program's community outreach component, a contingent of Atlanta religious leaders marked the occasion by denouncing the violence of dogfighting and signing a pledge to help combat the crime.

"Today is a good day for the innocent dogs and communities that are affected by the cruelty of dogfighting," said Tio Hardiman, special consultant to The Humane Society of the United States' national End Dogfighting campaign. "End Dogfighting in Atlanta is being launched at a time in which anti-dogfighting intervention is most needed in the city."

End Dogfighting in Atlanta will use the following innovative and proven community outreach methods to change attitudes and actions:

Anti-Dogfighting Advocates — The HSUS hires young men with roots in the community to combat dogfighting on a grassroots level. In neighborhoods most impacted by this crime, they mediate with men and boys at risk of getting involved in dogfighting, and intervene in dogfights.

Pit Bull Training Team — The HSUS holds free and accessible weekly pit bull training classes, which provide inspiring alternatives to dogfighting that showcase pit bulls as friends, not fighters.

Community Outreach — The HSUS holds events in the community to promote its anti-dogfighting message and develop trust in the community. Examples include vaccination clinics, dog house giveaways, rallies and religious leader outreach.

Law Enforcement Partnership — To fully eradicate street dogfighting, law enforcement officers need to know what to look for. In the Atlanta metro area, The HSUS has partnered with the DeKalb County Animal Control, offering them training on catching dogfighting and providing a reward of up to $5,000 for tips leading to convictions.

Humane Education — The HSUS developed a special eight-week curriculum for middle school children. This curriculum tackles the topic of dogfighting through games and hands-on activities.

Dogfighting B-roll and high-resolution images are available at video.hsus.org.

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