Dogfighting is a blood sport in which two dogs are staged to fight against each other for entertainment and gambling. As of 2008, dogfight is a felony in all 50 states of America. Sadly, despite the legislation prohibiting dogfighting, this cruel activity still exists in secret in the country.
Here’s the hopeful survival story of two pit bulls, Gracie and Layla, that were dumped by dogfighters at Penn Pines Park in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, in 2017. Their story has since gone viral, touching hearts across the nation.
It was early Monday morning of Sept. 4, 2017, when a passerby chanced upon the emaciated Gracie and Layla at the park. To one’s dismay, dog food was scattered around Gracie’s body, who was tired and lying immobile on the ground.
The two pit bulls were weak and in horrific shape. There were wounds and scars all over their skinny bodies.
Gracie was in a critical condition. She was frail and cold to the touch, and Layla, being the stronger one, curled up close to her, seemingly trying her utmost to protect her friend. Like a guardian angel, Layla would lie on top of Gracie’s body to keep her warm. She also tried to nuzzle Gracie to get up.
The poor dogs were undoubtedly at death’s door. Fortunately, Officer Russ Wolf Harper, co-founder of Justice Rescue, came to save them.
“She would not leave her side,” Officer Harper told The Dodo, alluding to the close bond between Layla and Gracie. “Anytime someone tried to get close, her friend tried to cover the other … It was almost like she was going to take the beating for the other one.”
“In a lot of cases, dogs bond so closely because they don’t have anybody else,” he added.
Officer Harper, with his shaved head and tattoos, looked every inch a tough man. However, to soothe the then-2-year-olds Layla and Gracie, he would do anything. He used his special “girly 10-year-old voice” to calm the dogs down as soon as he arrived at the park.
“I got down on my knees and called in my girly 10-year-old voice,” he said. “And Layla comes over to me with her tail wagging but her eyes clenched, like she thought she might get hit.”
Officer Harper gave Layla some pets on her nose and forehead, and after that, the loyal friend immediately ran back to be with Gracie. After earning the dogs’ trust, he got closer to put his police vest over them in an attempt to keep them warm. And the next thing he did was rush them to the vet.
Officer Harper didn’t hold out too much hope for the pit bulls, particularly Gracie. He thought Gracie might have to be put down, as she was so frail that she could hardly open her eyes. “When I picked her up she was as cold as an ice cube. She was on the brink of death right here,” he said, in an interview with CBS Local.
Fighting dog survivors. Gracie and Layla update. Layla is doing much much better. Eating on her own and showing…
Judging from the fresh and old wounds on the young dogs’ bodies, Officer Harper suspected they had been used for dogfighting since the early start of their lives.
“OUTRAGEOUS! Can you believe the depravity? Dumped in Penn Pine Park in Upper Darby, these 2 Pitbull mixes were used to fight, starved to below 50 percent of their normal body weight and abused repeatedly. They are skeletons,” Officer Harper wrote on Justice Rescue Facebook page.
Officer Harper has been devoted to rescuing animals directly from the hands of the abusers for years and co-founded Justice Rescue to resolve specific cases of animal cruelty, as well as help bust dogfighting rings. He further continued: “Layla and Gracie are just babies at approximately 2 years old and we can’t even imagine what they have suffered in their young lives. What kind of person does this? We are heartbroken.”
Remember Layla and Gracie who we rescued on Labor day? Look how amazing our girls look after some much needed vet care…
Both Gracie and Layla received emergency medical care, and Officer Harper again turned to Facebook to ask for prayers for both dogs’ survival.
“Prayers and Shares Needed! Layla and Gracie are still in critical condition. They are fighting hard for their lives and we need you to help fight for them!” he wrote. “Look at the dozens of scars all over their little bodies from being abused, used to fight, starved and then dumped in a park in Upper Darby like garbage. They are just babies.”
Fortunately, a miracle happened. Officer Harper witnessed Gracie getting stronger and stronger each day. One day, when he visited Gracie at the vet, she totally transformed.
“Gracie saw me and actually stood up,” he recalled, and the dog wanted to follow him around. “I sat down and she sat down on my lap.”
“Just a couple days ago Gracie was so bad she would not eat and I was very worried. She was so happy to see me that she did eat from my hand little by little,” he updated on Facebook.
But as Gracie got better, Layla’s health plummeted. Thankfully, after special care and lots of TLC, Layla recovered too. With the love of Officer Harper and the caregivers, Gracie and Layla were loving the affection, which they were likely devoid of ever since they came into this world.
Abused and used for dogfights for as long as they lived, both dogs, without a doubt, couldn’t believe they would be loved by so many humans. “They just look at you. They just stare, like ‘Is this real?'” Officer Harper said.
Eventually, Officer Harper helped Gracie and Layla rehabilitate, teaching them how to trust humans again. As they were mentally and physically well enough, the pit bulls were adopted to loving forever homes.
It’s heartwarming to learn that Gracie and Layla had a happy ending despite all the hardship they initially went through. However, it’s sad to say that’s not the case for most canines used for dogfighting. Each year, an average of 16,000 dogs are killed in organized dog fights in the United States, according to some government sources.
This brutal “sport” is not going to disappear anytime soon, so if you witness a dogfight, dial 911 immediately. If you suspect a dogfighting event is being staged in your area, call The Humane Society of the United States tip line at 1-877-TIP-HSUS.
Watch the video:
Fighting dogs survive. LAYLA and Gracie.
Justice Rescue စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၇၊ စက်တင်ဘာ ၁၂၊ အင်္ဂါနေ့