The story of a dog getting rescued by animal control or police after being abused by their owners, is an all-too common one. The story of the dog then being locked up somewhere as he/she is used as evidence again his/her former owner, only to be euthanized after the case, is all an all-too common one as well.
However, there’s an incredible rescue program in Chicago that is trying to give these animals a second chance. Safe Humane Chicago’s Court Case Dogs program works with a slew of organizations to make sure that the animals that have been neglected and abused and have been caged during the legal process, receive all hands-on-deck attention to live. This includes trips to the vets, enrichment opportunities and socialization training that would help these pups get adopted.
Safe Humane Chicago founder Cynthia Bathurst spoke with The Huffington Post about how dogs in these situations have thrived since the program began in 2010. “Court Case Dogs was a first step toward justice for these animals. Before the program was established, ‘evidence dogs’ routinely sat in cages at CACC while their owners’ court cases dragged on. When the program started in 2010, about 2 percent of “evidence” dogs made it out alive, and they stayed in their cages until their deaths for about a year on average. In 2014 the program saves more than 70 percent of them, and they stay at CACC for an average of two to four weeks with socialization, training and love,” she said.
So far, Bathurst’s program has rescued 600 dogs, with roughly 500 of them being adopted. And while that is good news, there’s still a struggle to find groups that will take the dogs in due to a stigma that abused dogs are bad dogs. “Court Case Dogs are the forgotten victims in our criminal justice system. They have done the time, but not the crime. Even though high-profile animal abuse cases like Michael Vick’s have generated public interest in what becomes of animal victims, most people do not know how long these animals sit and wait and suffer, or that so many go on to live amazing and fulfilling lives as therapy dogs, loving family pets or advocates against breed-discrimination,” board member Keri Burchfield said.
If you’re interested in helping with Safe Humane Chicago’s Court Case Dogs program, head over to the website, where you can learn about donating, transferring and adoption. And be sure to head over to The Huffington Post to read more.