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The 101 Department: Lobbying for a Better Disposition

Bonding and forfeiture laws can save animal shelters and law enforcement agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars—and can prevent the further suffering of victims of cruelty and fighting cases. Here’s how to get one passed in your state.

  • Focusing lawmakers’ attention on the problem can be difficult, says Dale Bartlett, The HSUS’s Deputy Manager for Animal Cruelty Issues. “It often comes down to conservative legislators not wanting to give the state the power to confiscate anyone’s private property until after they’ve been proven guilty,” he says. Michelle Riley/The HSUS

The dogs in kennels no. 14, 15, and 16 have no names. Born a year ago at this Ohio boarding facility to the pit bull with scissor-cut ears now wagging her tail expectantly in kennel no. 11, they’ll spend the rest of their lives here. Though desperate to lick the faces of anyone who walks by, these puppies will never know what it’s like to chase a ball or walk in the park or look out the window in anticipation of their humans’ arrival home.

If a jury convicts their owner, they will also never know, as their long-suffering mother does, that there are fates worse than death. They will never experience brutal training regimens or a grueling round in someone’s makeshift basement pit.

In the meantime, they have already spent months in limbo, their lives confined to their kennel runs. Their caretakers do what they can, providing toys and comfort to these and 23 other pit bulls seized from dogfighters. “She’s my baby,” says one employee of the puppies’ mother, who lies in a patch of light on the far side of her kennel.

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