In The Beginning
Having owned bully breeds for over 20 years, and having done rescue work and fostering of needy animals over the years, I became very concerned about the horrible way in which we as a civilized society treat what is supposedly man's "best friend". The worst horror of animal abuse is the vicious sport of dog fighting. In the spring of 2008, two different pit bulls were horrifically fought with severe injuries. I read the e-mails about these two special dogs, Chief and Trooper, and I knew I could not just sit idly by while animals were allowed to be used in such a gruesome fashion, all for the sake of "sport". I contacted some of my animal loving friends, enlisted the help of Illinois State Representative Mike Boland, and formed AAVENGE.
AAVENGE stands for "Animal Abuse and Violence Ends Now Through Greater Enforcement". We are "Committed to the education, prevention, and prosecution of the vicious sport of dog fighting".
Dog fighting is a national disgrace. It crosses state lines and all socioeconomic classes. The case of pro quarterback Michael Vick has brought the reality of this tragedy into the national spotlight.
Dog fighting is alive and well in this country. Unfortunately, the depth of the problem is hard to determine because dog fighting is such a clandestine activity. Based upon the number of dogs being brought into animal control facilities nationwide exhibiting obvious signs of dog fighting, there is no doubt that dog fighting needs our attention. This is a problem that needs to be addressed by law enforcement, animal control, and the citizens themselves.
Studies show that there is direct correlation between animal abuse and human violence. This includes domestic violence and child abuse. Research in in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don't stop there; many move on to their fellow humans. We as a society must get beyond the "It is just a dog mentality" and send a strong message that in a civilized society, violence against humans and animals will not be tolerated.
Mahatma Gandhi wrote "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated".
To this end, AAVENGE wants to educate the public, promote public awareness with regard to animal abuse and violence against humans, and help enact meaningful legislation to protect those who have no voice.