Shelter offers pit bulls saved from L.I. fighting

Hamilton, a three-year-old pit bull who was rescued from dog fighting in Long Island, is available for adoption at the Susquehanna Animal Shelter.Contributed 

Four pit bulls rescued from dog fighting in Long Island were sent to the Susquehanna Animal Shelter this year for a second chance. Two of them, named Hamilton and Jenner, are recent arrivals now available for adoption.

The two male adults had recent bites when they were recovered along with three other dogs in Nassau County this spring, and had to be quarantined for six months to ensure they didn’t develop rabies.

The Susquehanna Animal Shelter also accepted two female dogs from the case who were adopted earlier this year to local homes.

The New York State Animal Protection Federation, which has a network of more than 50 shelters and rescue groups, facilitated bringing the dogs upstate. Executive Director Libby Post explained that animal groups often try to send animals involved in serious abuse cases far away from their homes to try to prevent them from getting back to their owners through community connections.

Most animal cruelty cases in New York are charged as misdemeanor offenses, but owning dogs for the purpose of fighting was made a felony under federal law in 2007. The maximum penalties are a fine of $250,000 and three-year imprisonment.

Hamilton and Jenner have clean bills of health and are neutered and micro-chipped, shelter employees said. The two female pit bulls were sent to homes without any other pets, and they requested that pet owners interested in adopting either of the dogs bring their dogs to the shelter to test their compatibility.

A shelter employee said all of the dogs have been friendly thus far.

“All four of the dogs that we’ve gotten from this case are the sweetest,” said employee Rebecca Daly. “They didn’t seem afraid of people at all, so I was surprised.”

Both Hamilton and Jenner are three years old. Like other dogs with harrowing backgrounds, they have received a little more attention, Daly said, but there have been no serious adoption inquiries yet.

The adoption fee at Susquehanna is $175 for adult dogs.

Pit bull terriers are by far the most common dogs used for fighting. Daly offered a reminder that dogs’ behavior in kennels is not necessarily indicative of how they will behave at home.

Erin Jerome, staff writer, may be reached at (607) 441-7221, or at ejerome@thedailystar.com. Follow her on Twitter at @DS_ErinJ .