By Jeanne Sager
GLEN WILD June 29, 2004 Liz Keller doesnt think much of the sport of dog fighting.
Its a horrible sport thats not even the word for it, she said. Thats what they call it blood sport.
Keller, the owner of Top Dog Kennels in Glen Wild and head of the non-profit Glen Wild Animal Rescue, has seen it firsthand.
The kennel has offered up its services to a bull terrier who needs to be quarantined for six months after being brutally attacked in a dog fighting ring in New York City.
The purebred was likely stolen, Keller said, so it could be used as bait to train fighting dogs.
Red paint was poured across the small pups body to resemble blood, and he was thrown into the ring left to cower in the corner while he was mauled by a number of vicious dogs out for blood.
The pup, who Keller has named Floyd, received multiple bite wounds before being taken outside and dropped on the street, left to die by his captors.
Floyd was lucky to be found and rescued and taken to a New York City animal hospital.
But with no information about the dogs who attacked him (or who is responsible for his brutal treatment), dog control officers could only treat him for the wounds.
They dont know if he has rabies or any other diseases from the bites.
Thats where Keller comes in. A dog control officer here in Sullivan County, shes had her rabies vaccine. She can handle dogs who might pose a threat to other people.
So she volunteered to quarantine Floyd at Top Dog, and Dr. Richard Stein of Monticello volunteered his veterinary services to oversee his care.
Keller is glad to be able to help out an animal in need theres no way to test a dog for rabies without putting him or her to sleep and sending the head to Cornell to have tests done on the brain matter.
But Floyd is a sweet, well-behaved pup who has been through a lot.
He shouldnt have to be put down, she said.
Hes a really nice dog, Keller said. He was definitely well-treated at one point hes so well behaved.
Keller is convinced Floyd was stolen. Hes obviously a purebred bull terrier (like a Spuds McKenzie dog, she explained), and he acts as though he might have once been a show dog.
Bait dogs are often stolen house dogs, she explained. They are domestic and wont fight back when attacked, which makes them perfect for dog fighting afficionados they wont hurt the fighting dogs.
Bait dogs are totally abused and then left to die, Keller explained.
Floyd will never get over what happened to him in that ring.
He just freezes when he hears other dogs he feels like hes going to be mauled again, Keller explained. You should have seen him when he came in; he was traumatized.
Floyd has gotten better under Kellers care. Although he was in the animal hospital for two months, much of his white fur is still covered in the red paint it will have to grow out completely before he looks normal again.
And many of the bite wounds are still obvious there are too many to count.
But he knows that Keller wont hurt him. He goes in his kennel and cuddles up in a ball, finally feeling safe.
When Keller stops by to visit, hes eager to be petted and overjoyed by the attention.
He knows hes safe, she said. Hes very content in his cage.
In about four months time, Floyd will be available for adoption, and Keller is sure hell make a great family pet.
Shes using his case as a warning to people in Sullivan County about dog fighting.
We know it goes on around here, she said. But someone needs to step up and make a call.
These animals are just suffering, Keller continued.
And the police need some help to protect them.
Most dog fighting rings involve prostitution, gambling, drugs . . . Keller noted. The police need a lot of information to make an arrest.
Anyone with information about dog fighting going on in Sullivan County is encouraged to call the NYS Police at 292-6600.
For information on Floyd or Glen Wild Animal Rescue, call Keller at 434-7191.