April 24, 2012
Rescued by ASPCA and Undercover ATF Agents, Ex-Fighting Dog Finds Loving Family
During a year-long investigation into a guns and narcotics network in Virginia, agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) discovered that their targets were also involved in dog fighting.
To gain access to the criminals, the agents went undercover as fellow dog fighters, visiting the Halifax County property of the suspects on the pretense of purchasing a dog. The agents were offered Dragon, whom they feared would be killed that night, either in a fight or at the hands of his owners. They bought him…and then they fell in love with him.
The agents called the ASPCA for help. Our top experts arrived as soon as they could, and in April 2011 we assisted the ATF with a large-scale drugs, weapons and dog fighting raid where 41 dogs were seized.
It’s been two years since that bust, which resulted in two prison terms for the convicted dog fighters, including 15 years for Jonathan Kennard Williams.
But that wasn’t the only happy ending to this story.
Like most fighting dogs, Dragon was as sweet as could be with humans. “He rolled over and showed me his belly, even when I was ‘being mean to him’ as part of his behavioral assessment,” says the ASPCA’s Dr. Randall Lockwood. But Dr. Lockwood and ASPCA behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid found that he was also aggressive toward other male canines.
Still, the ASPCA didn’t give up on Dragon. And Dr. Reid had an idea: entering Dragon into a special rehabilitative program at the Longmont Humane Society in Colorado—approximately 1,700 miles from Halifax.
Says ASPCA Blood Sports Director Terry Mills, “We had a chance to save his life through a nontraditional approach, and we took it.”
So ASPCA Transport and Equipment Assistant Richard Danner drove Dragon from Virginia to Joplin, Missouri, where the Field Investigations and Response Team was responding to the tornado that devastated that town in May. From there, Dr. Reid and Mills drove Dragon to the Longmont Humane Society.
“We stayed for five days and worked with him every day, twice a day, and we were all quite impressed,” says Dr. Reid. “By Day 3, Dragon was making some dog friends and by Day 4, he was playing with other dogs!”
Soon, Dragon was ready for the adoptions floor. And finally, this year, he got the happy ending he so deserved: A wonderful family decided to take him home. Dragon is now living the good life with software developer Eric Reeves and his two kids! Read more about Dragon’s new life in the Denver Post!