Best Friends Blog

Sad News from Dogtown

EDIT: We have closed comments on this post. While we clearly are completely fine with conversation, the comments have become incredibly unproductive, accusatory and filled with statements that are just plain untrue. Best Friends is working towards solutions and attempting to learn from this tragic occurrence and ensure it never happens again. Patty Hegwood has offered to personally answer questions relating to this issue as we move forward, but what won’t happen is responding in the comments to these baseless accusations that are hurtful on many levels. That some are questioning our transparency and truthfulness, when all we have done is communicate each step of the way, is truly unfortunate. We thank everyone for their support and we will continue to post updates on the issue as they become available.

We had a very sad incident at Dogtown this weekend. One of the dogs escaped from his run, and while we can only speculate on the sequence of events, it seems that he broke into one of the runs of Tug, a dog rescued from the Michael Vick dog fighting case, who in turn broke into the run of Denzel, another of the Vicktory dogs. A fight ensued.

When the staff arrived for work early Sunday morning, they found the first dog deceased, while Tug and Denzel were in need of medical attention. We are relieved that both Denzel and Tug will make a full and complete recovery. Denzel is already back to his normal self today and Tug is not far behind him.

No one knows what triggered these events, but the staff did see deer tracks in the area. For most of the summer the deer go north and in the fall they return south. They are a fixture of sanctuary life in the fall and winter, but we suspect their return might have over stimulated the dogs to behave in this way.

All three dogs were housed alone and in separate buildings so it took a huge effort for them to interact. Dog fights create a lot of adrenaline energy and in my limited experience can bestow superior strength on the participants.

We are all deeply saddened by what happened to all three dogs and are conducting an extensive review into what might have caused this. We have already begun to take steps to additionally reinforce all fencing in the area occupied by our dogs that can only have supervised interaction with other animals, and we will institute an all night patrol watch.

  • Emc2coyote

    It seems incredibly coincidental that this happened with these exact dogs so close to the annual conference. BF houses many dogs that are aggressive towards other dogs and animals. Yet this involved these “high profile” dogs and a third dogs housed a distance away. I hope that this was a tragic accident but if it was not an accident, I hope that those responsible enjoy many sleepless nights.

    • Judah

      My name is Judah and I am am responsible for organizing the conference. I am confused by your posting and wonder what you mean.

      • Emc2coyote

        As BF prepares for their conference to bring the national spot light on the plight of homeless animals, this tragedy occurs. Those that wish BFAS harm have been placing their spin on the issue hours before BF passed along the tragic news.

        I *really hope* that this was an accident as it seems on the surface. The venom that a few hold towards BFAS does make me worry that someone would put their agenda above the lives of these precious dogs in order to overshadow the good that the conference does each year.

        • Kathi

          That seems far fetched to me, but if that’s the case, may these fringe individuals enjoy a special place in hell.

        • Cookieequalslove

          Emc2coyote, you’ve been reading too many Clancy novels. A tragic event, and some truly wonderful people and friends are hurting. Let them grieve, investigate and address any changes or actions they need to take to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

          • Emc2coyote

            As I said before, I hope that it was a tragic accident. I have seen dogs escape from some incredibly strong enclosures. Having loved and lost I can imagine the grief that everyone feels and I don’t wish to take away from that.

      • EmilyS

        I think what Emc2Coyote means is that it can’t be a coincidence that this tragedy happened at this particular time. As described, it is impossible for the dogs to have escaped and found each other without human assistance. Someone on the BF staff is a saboteur.

        • Maura

          As the investigation is still ongoing, I certainly can’t rule out sabatoge might be involved, but niether could I rule out that this incident is just one of those tragic, bizarre set of chain reactions that no one could anticipate. What I feel I can say with virtual certainty is that BF staffers are not involved if some nefarious act is found to have occurred. I have to ask…have you ever visited Best Friends? I would guess not, because if you’d been here, it would be so very obvious to you that each and every person working for BF-whether they are in animal care, volunteer support, administrative or maintenance-are all about the love and care for these creatures that have come to BF for care. You can’t go 15 minutes without seeing a staff member pet, stroke, cuddle with or in some other manor provide love and affection for whatever animal is around.

  • Richie

    I’m sorry to hear of the loss of the wonderful dog but am also relieved the other 2 are ok. Can you tell me when and if Dogtown will be back on TV again? we really enjoyed the stories and seeing the staff do their remarkable work so anything you can do to enlighten us would be appreciated, Thank you!

  • Holly Smith

    You have to be kidding me. The dog died because there was no double fencing and the care givers were warning the management that this could cause a serious problem. Once again, a problem has been caused because the powers that be refused to listen to the people who know. A dog had to die and the issue made public for double fencing to go up.

    • michael

      Sounds like you have it all figured out and on good authority. Oh wait. Who the heck are you? How do you know all the answers?

    • Patty

      Hi Holly,

      Thank you for voicing your concern so that I can address it. Please know
      that we have a comprehensive fencing protocol. Our caregivers meet
      regularly with Dogtown management to point out any maintenance needs and to
      draw attention to any concerns about a given dog’s fencing requirements. Our
      Team Leaders in Dogtown check all maintenance requests that are turned in
      and insure their proper completion.

      Many of the dogs that we manage require special considerations. Our primary
      concern is the animal’s safety and welfare as well as their emotional
      health. In conjunction with the physical requirements like fencing, our
      caregivers work diligently to meet the emotional needs of each individual

      Caregivers do express concerns as the needs change for different dogs. If a
      dog needs a different type of fencing than it currently has, the decision is
      made to either move the dog to a run that already has the appropriate
      fencing or to add the appropriate fencing to the dog’s current run. We have
      runs that have normal fencing between runs, we have runs that have double
      fencing between runs and we have runs that have cement board visual barriers
      between runs. All of these types of fence lines meet specific needs for the

      In most circumstances it has not been necessary to have double fencing on
      fence lines that are not shared with other dogs. Obviously in this case we
      were tragically mistaken and work has already begun to prevent this from
      happening in the future.

      Patty Hegwood
      Director Animal Care

    • Vicki Mcdog

      I worked at BFAS and I know how hard it is to get a request for fencing or whatever for the dog’s completed. We worked soooooooooooooo hard to get barrier fencing in dog run’s where dogs were redirecting on each other out of barrier frustration. So, I for one beleive Holly Smith’s blog reply.

  • Lovefelines2003

    This is so tragic and my heart aches for all three dogs and for all at BF. There is no one to blame in this incident – dogs do fight sometimes no matter how they were raised. Because no one was there, we will never know exactly what took place. Having been to the sanctuary, it is obvious how much the dogs are loved and cared for. Let’s hope this does not create additional negative media for the Vick dogs and pitties everywhere. We don’t know who started the fight. It is heartbreaking that a dog (Beans, I believe?) lost his life, and I know all at the sanctuary must be stunned and heartbroken. BF has done more for animals than most will in a lifetime. I thank you for that. I think we all need to ignore misinformed posts like the one sent below from Maria. Blame does no good. What is important to remember is that a life was lost, and we must all learn from that. Rest in peace, Beans. I am so sorry.

    • Kathi

      Well said – thank you….

    • Dj Slez

      “Let’s hope this does not create additional negative media for the Vick dogs and pitties everywhere.”
      Of course this will create bad media. They’re pitbulls, and while I do think they’re beautiful dogs, they certainly aren’t dogs for everyone, and the people who adopted these dogs underneath the pretenses that they were should be held accounted for.

      You can not undermine or expect 100+ years of a dog bred for fighting to be let go so easily when the right stimuli arrives. Especially when these dogs adopted out were exposed and bred for such a purpose.

      It’s sad that that these pitbulls were bred for such a cruel act, but in short, what should one expect?

      • Rochelle Fraser

        Apparently, you know nothing about this breed of dog! Perhaps you should do some volunteering yourself and find out a little bit more about them before you pass judgement. Let’s not forget these dogs were “America’s Dogs” as seen in the Little Rascals, before they were TAUGHT BY HUMANS to fight!! These dogs are not born to fight just as we are not born to be prejudiced. Unfortunately, these wonderful dogs have been born to lose because we are afraid of what we don’t understand. You DO NOT understand. As far as creating negative media, the media doesn’t care about one dog. There have been more bites from small dogs recorded than Pit Bulls. Seriously, get educated.

        • Dj Slez

          I’m not passing biased judgment.

          I am friend with various types of people who own pitbulls. Mind you these people seem to be more competent at keeping their dogs than most and understand that pitbulls are not like “any other dog” which is a false statement anyways because a pug is not a Labrador is not a pitbull is not a poodle.

          You know nothing my dear fellow… pitbulls were bred and culled FOR fighting a good hundred years before they became pets on the side. And yes, I say they became pets on the side because they were originally bred to fight, not be household pets. First it was bulls, then it was hogs and soon dogs.

          Sure there have bee more bites from other dogs, but a bite is different from mauling and pitbulls have the highest record for mauling AND killing than any other breed of dog…. about 56% of them ALONE causes unneeded injury and death. While you might have two labs if that kill anyone let alone maul.

          Here’s a thing I wrote on the difference of dog bites and maul:
          Webmaster comment: Link removed since it is now defunct

          And here’s another I wrote about the percentage of those thing:
          Webmaster comment: Link removed since it is now defunct

          Educate YOURSELF before you start spreading unneeded lies….

          • Russolk

            For any of you who are familiar with the Vick dogs, I have met Lucas, Michael Vicks prize fighter. Lucas is court ordered to never leave the sanctuary. When I was there his care giver mentioned that they did a DNA test on him and he has cocker spaniel mix in him. Last I checked, cocker spaniels are not very agressive dogs and probably wouldnt do very well thrown into a dog fighting ring.
            A dog is raised BY HUMANS to be a fighter. Pitties may have the ability to do more damage when engaged in a fight simply by their build and determination to please. If we didnt have horrible people in the world breeding pitties and other bully breeds to fight, maybe there would be less of a need for BSL and fear of these misunderstood breeds.

          • Nospam

            So now Lucas is a cocker spaniel mix? And this is supposed to be proof that all the pit bull in Lucas didn’t influence his genetic predispositions? Bwaaaaa-hahahahaha!

          • Russolk

            I’m saying blame it on the people who put Lucas and all dogs in a situation where they need to fight for their life. People can’t go and say all “pitbulls are born killers/biters” because most often pitbulls are mix breeds. You cant blame Lucas’s breeding as the reason he is a champion fighter when he has cocker spaniel in him and god knows what else.

          • Jmoyer4515

            I also met Lucas. And although he is scared of strangers, he is loving and kind with his caretakers. They love him and Lucas obviously loves them. Some of the Vicktory dogs were more traumatized than others. Lucas will live his life at BF’s, being loved and respected for his entire life….some dogs that are homed don’t get that.

          • Dj Slez

            Not to be mean but I kind of find it cruel to keep any animal alive when it’s obviously suffering from severe stress or mental disorder such as strong reactions to slight sound, touch ect.

            This is why I find it more humane to euthanize most animals rescued from fighting, fur, laboratory conditions and practices.

          • CB

            I Agree with you Dj Slez. I also think that it is cruel and not practical to keep any suffering animal alive. There comes a point in animal rescue especially with so many animals being neglected, abused, etc. that organizations need to be “realistic”. We all do the best that we can but when you have perhaps 100 animals and 50 kennels, what do you do? CB

          • Dj Slez

            I just don’t understand why you would take a creature who spent most of its life suffering and force it to live just because you think it can have a second chance at life.

            While it is admirable in a sense, it can also be quite cruel and needless when you have to spend so much time rehabilitating an animal that’s going to take a long while to rehabilitate. And this attack from Beans (who was a Staffordshire) and the two Vick dogs proves this notion.

          • Mike

            You obviously have never been to Best Friends.
            These dogs aren’t just living their life out, they are being socialized by just being there.
            I’m a Behaviorist from the Chicago land area, and recently returned from BF.
            Lucas never barked at me once! He whimpered when I walked by his enclosure, and I sat near by as I wrote in my journal. He lay down beside me (on his side of the fence) and chilled with me. He has been much more relaxed since arriving there.
            The second chance BF give, is the chance to observe a normality they have never known. Even if that normality is at a rescue shelter, where they are ALL loved on!
            I don’t know your reasonings for your comments, but as to BF, you are off the mark!

          • Russolk

            I completely agree with you Mike! DJ Slez – Best Friends is a haven for so many animals! Even if they live out their days at the sanctuary, they are given food, medical attention, love, and their own space. Every animal deserve a second chance at life, especially a life that was robbed from them. Lucas is a sweet heart! He may never be able to live in a normal house with other dogs, but that doesnt mean he should be killed. You cannot exterminate all pit bulls because of some with bad behavior.

          • Dj Slez you have not a F—- clue as to what you are talking about. Do you know how many BAD OWNERS backyard breed these dogs? There are WAY more pits in the world than alot of other breeds of dogs WHICH EXPLAINS THE HIGHER PERCENTAGE OF BITES WITH PITS. THERE ARE MORE OF THEM……….THIS IS A FACT. I work at a large Pet Supply retailer and more people come into my store with bandages on fingers, hands and arms from SMALL DOGS than large breed dogs. THE SINGLE BITE OF A SMALL DOG IS NOT REPORTED TO ANIMAL CONTROL AGENCIES IF IT WERE WE WOULD BE BANNING CHIHUAHUA’S, COCKERS (YES SEVERAL CUSTOMERS WITH GROUCHY COCKERS), MIN PINS, YORKIES, AND THE LIST GOES ON.



          • Mike

            And this is whyn you haven’t a clue as to what you are talking about, and lay your experience at the feet of a friend.Yea, right!
            Please troll somewhere else, anybody with half a brain knows you are full of it!

          • Dj Slez

            But you’re missing if he was a third pitbull then sure, he could have been less aggressive. But cocker spaniels are not known to be as violent as pitbulls or Shepard and so obviously that fighting streak comes from Lucas’ pitbull side.

            I’ve never seen a cocker kill another dog or fight to the death, although I’ve heard storyies and seen images of them being killed by other dogs including pits.

          • Dj Slez

            I would like to see a picture of this dog, Lucas.
            The reason he was a prized fighting dog was because he was mostly pitbull, and I’m pretty sure the DNA test would reveal this.

            You can teach a dog to fight to some extent. But there’s an obvious reason as to why pitbulls are used to the propensity that they are. They effective and fast learners at the trade and have an extremely high tolerance to pain that most other dogs do.

            If other dogs were so proficient at fighting as pitbulls are they would be used INSTEAD. A game owner will not waste his time training rotties, shepherds, or other dogs because he knows that PITBULLS ARE MORE EFFECTIVE. This is just common sense and anyone who thinks otherwise is horribly misinformed and obviously not using an iota of common sense…
            I do wish that any and every dog regardless of breed should be placed in a loving and caring home. But no dog that is used for fighting should ever be “rehabilitated” or released upon the common public.

            I would rather Ceaser Milan get a hold of these dogs that most other agencies…

          • JJ

            I have to wonder what your agenda is…you’ve spent an awful lot of time and energy posting on this site. You talk about it being more humane to euthanize these dogs. I am sorry for whatever it is in your life that makes you so ready to play God. Why do you have such a hatred of pitties? And please do not quote from your lame statistics again. Even the CDC no longer tracks bites/deaths by breed. Because it is nuture, not nature that is the most important thing with any dog.

          • Dj Slez

            I am not playing god by sparing an animal any more unnecessary and unneeded stress. If you want to talk about playing god, then stop trying to make these dogs, excuse me “rehabilitate” this animals into something they were never intended to be, that sounds like playing god to me.

            Any dog that severely hurt or kills another dog should be put down as theyr’e obviously a danger to other livening beings, regardless of species.

            Seeing how you support these dogs who are shown to kill it just shows how absent minded and apathetic people can be to lives lost and hurt at the mouths of these animals.

            I would rather “play god” and save more lives by putting down individual vicious dogs than allow them to hurt other living beings.

            And if you take any form of medication or support the NICU, you’re just as guilty as me at playing god.

          • Mike

            After reading this comment, I now know you have little understanding of actual canine behavior!
            How do you determine a vicious dog?
            How do you determine how a bite is to be considered.., just because the result is severe?
            By the way, Spaniels have always been in the top percentile in biting. Obviously they will not inflict the damage a Am Staff, etc will.
            Your history on these animals is quite off as well since these dogs were originally bread for work, then fighting.
            Why don’t you pay a visit to the place(BF) you put down, THEN make a judgement!

          • Dj Slez

            Speaking of nurture and nature, why is Isaboo tormenting and ripping the limbs off of other dogs when she was clearly given copious amounts of love?

          • We like to think we know Rachel Ray but we do not and without being in her home and watching how the “pack” interacts it is impossible to say what is going on. I DO KNOW THAT IF YOU EXPECT A FIGHT YOU MOST LIKELY WILL GET A FIGHT. Anytime that my dogs snap at each other it is always because I WAS NOT PAYING ATTENTION, DID NOT FOLLOW COMMON SENSE DOG RULES ETC. WAS THE OTHER DOG PULLING AT GROWLING AT THE END OF THEIR LEASH? VERY COMMON WHERE I LIVE. I teach my 4 dogs all 260lbs to walk on by and ignore bad doggie behavior. If Rachel’s pit is an only dog who “runs” the show and is allowed to do what she wants with no rules boundaries and limitations than RACHEL RAY set her dog up to be the way she is. It does not matter that it was a pitbull because the Chi’s, min pins, cockers that are treated this same way are the ones that bite their owners.

          • Dj Slez

            And I never said I hated pitbulls. I personally think they’re visually beautiful dogs. And those that are decent in nature that have good homes? Wonderful!

            But I DO dislike people promoting them as dogs that are:
            • for everyone
            • have the lowest bite records
            • are just like any other dog

            and who promote the stupid notion that giving a dog a lot of love and attention will automatically cure it of of any mentally genetic traits most of the breed has.

            Those lies most advocates are spewing are doing more harm than good.

          • Rudysmom

            Just to ensure I wasn’t perhaps misinterpreting your statements or your perceptions,
            I read both blog posts you recommended 2 try 2 determine your legitimate stance in reference to this particular issue.
            I’m going to play Devil’s Advocate here for a moment, so please do bear with me as I’ve borne with your comments:.
            I must admit I find a number of flaws in your logic, as well as your claim that you report on both “the good & the bad” about PitBulls, b/c your body of work seems to be rather one-sided at best.
            Merely out of curiosity’s sake, what are your own legitimate personal experiences with this breed of dog?
            I ask this because I myself have never owned a PitBull specifically, but I have owned and rehabilitated dogs you’ve referred to & referenced as also being highly dangerous and predisposed toward severe and possibly deathly maulings of humans.
            Despite those dogs’ previously aggressive behaviors, I never experienced those issues with them – but I digress, sorry.

            I’m all for Freedom of Speech and respecting another’s opinion, but I see no mention of any qualifications, education, life-time experience, what have you that give you the credibility to make such types of blanket statements, other than your claim that you’ve extensively ‘researched’ said issues, or words to that effect.

            Food for thought and too, I’d just like to state for the record,
            Hitler also claimed to have done extensive research in support of his ‘theories’ about alledged genetic inferiority of Jewish people everywhere;
            – did this claim make him more trustworthy?
            – did it expel any inherent and hidden bias in his work?
            – did it give him a mantle of authority that people of lesser intelligence, character,
            education or malleability might espouse said theories?

            I would highly urge each person who reads your blogs (and all such subjective commentary for that matter) to rely more heavily upon their own logic and inductive thought processes that to blindly ingest the particular fare you’re offering in guise of “legitimate research”; because as much as I hate to say this,
            you’re presenting yourself as a source of factual research and objective summary,

            but the fact remains
            You have a highly visible and inherent bias yourself, quite evident in your speech, your blog postings, your ‘take’ shall we say for lack of a better word?
            on everything you’ve come across.
            The language you repeatedly use quite openly portrays that you are not an objective person in this matter by any means, and are in fact inherently predisposed Against Pitbulls;
            therefore your credibility in this matter is suspect.
            I must also add that I find your statements to the previous poster to be condescending at best, especially when you open with the claim:
            “I’m not passing biased judgment”
            because with all honesty,
            that is exactly what you are doing, to be fairly blunt about it,
            you are In Fact passing a Biased Judgement which is based upon a personal predisposition against a particular breed, while concurrently offering yourself as an Objective Researcher – a misnomer I’m sure.

            I might throw your own words back at You:
            “Educate YOURSELF before you start spreading unneeded lies…”

            Again, merely playing Devil’s Advocate, especially as you portray yourself to be someone who is interested in Enlightened Education;
            or was that simply a disclaimer on your part?

  • Jmoyer4515

    I am so sorry this happened. What we must understand is that accidents happen. BF’s does a great job at making the runs secure but we don’t know started these chain of events. My heart breaks for the dogs along with the staff. We have to remember that the staff is devoted and dedicated to these animals and I am sure they were devastated when they discovered this. Mariia…you are way off base. It has been proved that these dogs can be helped as evident by the ones that have been adopted. Some take much longer to rehabilitate. BF’s does a wonderful job at proving a loving environment for the ones that have issues. The staff nurtures them and loves them and they deserve every minute of it. Please remember for years, BF’s cared for Brownie…one of the most vicious dogs and he was a daschund that was not involved in dog fighting. He lived a great life and the staff loved him.

  • Kathi

    Maria, are you seriously suggesting that all of the Vicktory dogs should have been euthanized because they were mistreated and abused? These dogs deserve a chance at a happy life after what they’ve been through. Two word for who’s at fault here – Michael Vick. To call the Vicktory dogs murderers and monsters is the height of irresponsibility and ignorance.
    To all the caregivers and employees – my heart goes out to you all. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for everyone.

    • Dj Slez

      Dogs are not people… they don’t have the capacity to understand the objective stances of being given a second chance. And while it is true that they don’t understand what they did was wrong, one can not discount that what they did was in fact, morally wrong (by human standards anyways).

      Dogs killing dogs is not a normal act in the canid kingdom or elsewhere as far as I know. Sure they fight, really hard, but they normally do not kill the other dog, and it’s more so to show dominance (have the other belly up) or drive them off their territory. In all the stray and domestic dog fights (12 total) I’ve seen start and end, it was never with the intention to kill. And all dogs did as stated above.

      “To call the Vicktory dogs murderers and monsters…”
      These two are murders because they killed anther dog, and they are monsters because they did so with such skill and ease. Not surprising seeing as they’re dogs who were bred and taught to fight….

      I do feel sorry for these pitbulls and the many who suffer the fate they did. But to state that what they did was an “accident” or “normal” is beyond the truth, and clearly shows whoever claims such things to be the true ignoramus, not the people who see what it was these dogs really did.

      Hopefully if pitbulls are adopted out, they will be places in homes that have caregivers who understand how to deal with powerful breeds and ensure that things like this wont happen again.

      • Kathi

        Go away. You’re an ignorant idiot. Learn to spell before you so valiantly and passionately try to make your point. Put some of your energy into education. You’ll never change my mind about pit bulls, especially because you have no clue what you are talking about. I’m not going to engage further conversation with a fool. Go play your troll games with someone else if that’s all you have to do.

        • Dj Slez

          Also, from rereading your statement. It’s safe to say that you probably never read mine, heh.

        • Dj Slez

          Just because I had one or two typos does not mean I”m ignorant nor does it mean my reasoning is less justifiable because of it.

          And wow, now I’m a troll because I don’t think all pitbulls are innocent little angels that need no regulation or proper mention o their power?

          And I have no clue what I’m talking about? I’d suggest that you read these two blogs in order to see how much I don’t know, which is far less than you.

          My Blog:
          Webmaster comment: link removed since it is now defunct.

          And if any anon comments are made they will be delete , anon comments are only made by cowards as they just want to state and run. But I’m no such coward and will fight for a point if I make it, unlike what you seem to be doing by running away.

      • Julie

        I agree ONLY with the last paragraph of your statement. Let’s not forget how these dogs ended up like this. Michael Vick trained these dogs to fight and kill. Plain and simple. They are hardly muderers or monsters. They were victimized by a monster who never really had to pay for what he did. The people at Best Friends are giving these dogs sanctuary and rehab. If they did ANYTHING wrong, it was not instituting a night patrol. But, we learn from our mistakes and hopefully this will be put in place now.

        • Dj Slez

          I don’t mind that the people are giving solace to those dogs. However, they should also care about their other dogs and provide better enclosures so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.

          And you only agree with the last part? Since when did dogs have the moral capacity of a human being? If either dog knew that what they were doing was wrong. Neither of them would have had the tenacity to pursue and kill each other.

      • Mike

        WOW, you are so off it’s become laughable!
        Whens the last time you watched canine dynamics.., such as a wolf pack.
        Are Wolf packs killing each other to get them to join a pack!? NO!
        They are family units with a rare occasion of outside membership.
        They often kill lone wolves, or other pack members. Wolves cull their numbers at a rate of 20% a year.
        You need to broaden your reading material.

  • Kathi

    So Maria, your thoughts are that perhaps all of these dogs should have been killed because they were mistreated and abused? Yours is exactly the type of mindset that I fight against every day. To call the Vicktory dogs monsters and murderers is the height of ignorance. Exactly who’s fault do you suggest this is? I can trace this back to two words. Michael Vick. I can’t stomach pit haters, sorry.

  • Julie

    This is devastating news. Beans will be terribly missed.

  • Erin

    I’m so sorry this happened. I have to say I disagree with Maria comments below. The work you have done with the Vick dogs is amazing and I for one appreciate all that you have done to date and will continue to do for those wonderful loving creatures that were brought to you. Thank you for what you do…..

  • Debby from Pa

    To all the caretakers, caregivers, and volunteers who had to deal with this tragedy I send my thanks and love for being who you are and giving all the dogs your time and energy to enjoy what was orginally denied them in life. My time there volunteering I saw the empathy and the love you all had for each and every dog, even on your days off you guys still called to make sure your charges were ok. Best Friends is a life changing visit, the dogs involved were not “monsters” as another writer stated. It could have been any dog when a situation that causes the heightened instinctual frenzy.Yes we all have anger at Vick, (especially me since hometown team has him and I have to watch the hero worship from nitwits around here). But it all comes down to protecting the innocent, and animals are part of that. Best Friends my prayers and wishes all to you.

  • Kristine

    It is sad all the staff does such a wonderful job. I love reading all your articles


    • Annie

      I see a problem but I don’t think it’s the dogs. Best Friends has taken on the task to provide a loving and caring home for the dogs that belonged to a pretty poor excuse for a human being. These dogs have made tremendous strides and Best Friends and their caregivers should be commended and supported for ALL THEY DO. I am absolutely heartbroken to hear that a dog died in this tragic event but I know that a lesson will be learned and more precautions will be taken so that this does not happen again. These dogs are not monsters and murderers. They deserve the love and care that they have received and hope they continue to receive at Best Friends. All of you there have my support.

    • Ted064

      Thanks for posting your thoughts, Maria. It gives the others who follow this blog an opportunity to respond to your ill-informed posting with measured language and facts.

      Such as, for example, the lack of any scientific evidence for your contention that any dog formerly abused by being forced to fight “has blood in there [sic] veins and muder in there [sic] heart”. Google, +Cherry +”Vick Dog”, for one of the thousands of examples precisely to the contrary.

      There was a time when being willfully ignorant was a source of shame. Consider this my effort to bring a slice of that era forward and place it before you for your consideration.

      • Maura

        Bravo!!! Concise expression of the sentiment shared by many.

    • Papua

      learn how to spell maria

    • Donna

      Actually the dogs are not the “monster” – the people who trained them to kill are. I took a dangerous dog in two years ago and if you were to see him now – you would not believe me when I say he used to attack people – he’s a big baby. All dogs deserve a great life – and all dogs can be rehabilitated. As a trainer I am surprised to hear you say something like this.

    • Darcydennett

      Oooooo… this is a very harsh comment from Maria. Dog fights happen even here in the dog runs of New York City among even the most average dogs. To call a dog a monster with murder in their heart isn’t pretty. It’s typically people who do such a good job earning that title.

      On another note, I am very sorry to hear of this news, and relieved to hear that Denzel and Tug are OK. Very sad, and my heart is with the people who had to manage the situation, which sounds like a difficult and challenging one.

    • Emc2coyote

      I hope for the sake of your rotties that you never encounter a severe behavioral problem. As a trainer for the past decade I have managed many behavioral problems safely and with good results. Even dogs removed from abusive situations will reflect the care they currently receive. Perhaps you should examine your own methods before calling any animal a “monster”

    • maikonezu

      Maria, please read the book called The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick’s Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant. As the title suggests, it tells you all about the history and the progress these dogs have made, along with all the people who supported them with open hearts. I do have a rescue dog who has fear-aggression issue, but we’ve been making progress together. And she is a truly wonderful soul. It is the abuse the she experienced in the past that we have to fight against.

    • 77aggie2

      Maria, you are truly an idiot. I feel sorry for the Rotties you supposedly “train.”

    • bleemac

      Everyone has blood in their veins–that is what they’re for. But murder in their heart? This seems like a projection of human behavior onto an animal. How can we know what is in a dog’s heart, especially as you’ve used the term, as a metaphor for personal beliefs/choices/ morality? And “monsters”? There is a monster, but he’s on the football field.

  • Suppoter

    So sorry that this has happened… they had been through so much, and you all are just the most caring people ever, giving these dogs a chance in the first place. It is very sad, but I know you guys will do all that you can to ensure that nothing ever like this will happen at such a wonderful place.

  • rosemary beaulieu


  • sue

    It sickens me that the aftermath of Michael Vick’s dogs is still being dealt with and he is back making millions of dollars playing football. Ugh. Im very sorry this happened and I think I speak for us all that we thank you for doing what you do to even allow these dogs a chance to live. I can’t imagine the work it takes to house all of them. Thank you for what you do.

  • Kim B. in Chicago

    So sorry to hear about what happened over the weekend. My heart goes out to the caretakers of those runs. I know how hard they work and how much they care for each and every dog. :o(

  • Kathi

    RIP sweet Beans – you had the most expressive eyes ever. I’m so glad I got to spend a little time with you in August. I’m just heartbroken.

  • Suzieq

    Beans…rest in peace my buddy. I will always remember your smile and the cool ball I gave you when you were at the Clubhouse.

  • Nicole

    I am so sorry to hear this. May Beans RIP. <3

  • Marty

    I am so sorry to hear the sad news. I now how hard everyone works to prevent these things from happening. You all do an incredible job and every animal in your care is lucky to be there. My thoughts are with all of you.

  • Kristi

    So sorry for your loss. RIP Beans. )=

  • Anonymous

    Hi everyone,

    The first dog was Beans who came to us from Vegas a couple of years ago.


    • Thanks Jon. I’m so sorry for Beans. was worried it might have been Sarge, any dog death is tragic. 🙁 Poor babies 🙁

    • Deidre

      It is tragic no matter which dog it was, but to hear that it was Beans breaks my heart. I loved his squishy face from the first time I saw him at the Sanctuary. May he rest in peace.

  • Kristi

    Can you please let us know who dog #1 was? )=

  • Sloughnane

    So sorry to hear of the lose of one of the dogs in this way. I know you do all that is humanly possible to keep all in your charge safe and well. Your track record is one to be very proud of.

  • I’m sorry, how sad 🙁 Who was the first dog, that didn’t make it???