Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dog Fighting: The Ball is in their Court

The following e-mail was sent to both Mayoral candidates today:
Good morning,

As you may or may not know, I spearhead the animal rescue effort in the Corridor of Cruelty. I coined the term nearly a year and a half ago, and have coordinated the rescue of well over 100 animals from the area since August of 2008. I’ve also worked with the Spay Neuter Assistance Program and was able to bring them to the Corridor beginning in February of this year.

As with most major metropolitan areas, there is a huge stray animal problem in Houston. This is one of the reasons I became involved with hands-on rescue - to create a better life for as many stray dogs as I could. The particular area off I-59and Little York caught my attention because of the great need that exists there.

Most people will agree that it is extremely sad the way in which dogs and cats are abandoned in the Corridor of Cruelty. And most will agree that it is a worthwhile endeavor to try and rescue and rehabilitate as many of them as possible. But aside from the live dogs being dumped in the Corridor of Cruelty, there exists a larger, even more insidious “dumping” problem. Over the past 16 months, my volunteers and I have watched as the dead dog dumping continues at a horrifyingly increasing rate in the Corridor. This type of activity is directly related to the gruesome “sport” of DOGFIGHTING. On a regular basis we find the corpses of dogs in black hefty trash bags littering the streets along the I-59 feeder road near Little York. These poor, tortured animals have either been used as bait or have been made to participate in organized fights. We always find these bodies on Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays - depending on when we are in the area along our feeding station routes. The reason we find them on these days is because the human criminals are holding dogfights on Friday and Saturday nights, and then disposing of their “waste” afterwards.

For over a year now I have contacted and continue to contact local authorities whenever we make another grisly discovery. I was encouraged, as many were, when the DA’s office and Crimestopper’s launched an anti-dogfighting campaign last February and used the Corridor as a springboard for their effort. As far as I know, not one arrest was ever made and I never saw a single billboard advertising the campaign. Supposedly there were 18 billboards and busboards also.

As we all know, DOGFIGHTING is a serious and dangerous criminal activity. If an elementary/high school poll was taken, I would not be surprised to learn that a great number of youths had either participated in a dogfight or been present at one. Is this type of activity something we want to run rampant and unchecked in our city? Do we want to be known as the “Dogfighting Capital of the U.S.”? Of course, not! But if our elected officials do NOT take a stand and provide for a special task force and budget to combat this crime, then I have no doubts that we will end up on the map known for this serious illegal activity.

Whoever wins the race for Mayor, I pray that you will be guided to do your best and utmost to stop illegal DOGFIGHTING activity in our city. It is not my job or the job of any other citizen of this city to get rid of this horrendous crime that takes place every day and eats away at the inner core of goodness of humanity. It is YOUR job!!! However, I stand ready to assist you in any way that I can to fight the fight against DOGFIGHTING in the Corridor of Cruelty in Houston.

Attached are photos of dogs found yesterday as well as photos from the past several months. Unfortunately, I have MANY more that I could show you. Just want you to see first hand what you are up against and what must be stopped…..for the dogs….for our youth…for our city’s future.


Deborah Hoffman**
President and Founder
Corridor Rescue

Since children can access this, I'll spare you the picture of dog corpses that the rescue I work with is finding on an increasing basis.

So far the problem of dog-fighting, abuse and abandonment has been paid a LOT of lip service without any real action being taken. As with BARC, our elected leaders tend to extol animals verbally (and in campaign ads) extending to them little real physical effort, possibly because they have no campaign donations to give.

Yes, stopping dog-fighting, ending abuse and reducing shelter kill rates cost money, large amounts of money. Almost anything worth doing right is going to involve a cost. I said, in a prior post, that there were things I believe only the Government has the ability to handle, animal control is one of those things. There are also things that I believe we, as a society, should want our taxes to go towards fixing. Good water, roads, healthy children, and eliminating animal cruelty are at the tops of my list.

What about yours?

I await the answer of our elected officials. More rhetoric? Or are we going to see some action?

**It should be noted that all of the opinions on this blog mentioning my work with Corridor Rescue, as well as any positions that I promote regarding the same, are soley my opinion and are NOT reflective of Corridor Rescue Inc., Deborah Hoffman or any other person affiliated with CRI. In other words, the words on here are mine and mine alone unless otherwise noted.


  1. In Sunday's KHOU debate, Gene Locke stated that he wanted a police effort to "attack" the problems in the Corridor of Cruelty. He also specifically discusses the Corridor in his BARC policy including the need for full-time animal cruelty investigators. He has told me that he wants to work more closely with the county to deal with this situation which is something Bill White completely neglected to do. For geographic reasons, the Corridor really needs to be combatted by both the County and the City.

    Here is a link to Locke's animal control plans:

    Locke's opponent has called for more "sweeps" of the Corridor to pick up strays. This tactic has been proven to be ineffective. It's not cost effective and it's inhumane.

    Having been involved with the fight to bring change to BARC for more than five years now, I disagree that animal control is best addressed by government. I think that if the past few years have shown us anything, it is that the city government is completely incapable of carrying out long-term solutions for animal control. I hope that the next mayor will look at a public/private partnership for animal control. I also do not think that the way to fund animal control is through raising taxes. There are a multitude of ways to increase revenue for needed animal control programs and I hope the next mayor will look at other options.

    If the city can raise millions through a capital campaign for Discovery Green so that yoga classes can be held outside in the middle of downtown, then a capital campaign can be done to raise money to prevent criminal activities and the killing of dogs and cats.

    I agree with you both that the next mayor will have to address the problems at BARC and in the Corridor. I don't think that Houston's half million pet owning households will be placated by talk by the next mayor.

    I also think that this letter needs to be sent to Councilman Ed Gonzalez. The Corridor runs through his district and as a former police officer, one would think that he should or would take a more aggressive stance to deal with criminal activities that affect the safety of the people and animals in District H.

    I appreciate the work that both Cory and Deborah do with the Corridor. Deborah is a peronal hero of mine.

    Kelly Cripe
    Noah's Ark PAC

  2. You make some good points, and let me start off by pointing out where we agree.

    Animal control is best handled by volunteer groups and no-kill shelters. The beauracracy of municipal government is a bad place for the disposal of dumped, lost & abused animals. This is part of the work we do at Corridor Rescue Inc. and why we also take dogs out of shelters that have been rescued in the Corridor of Cruelty. As a foster parent I can guarantee that my living room is a more hospitable environment for a traumatized dog than is a cage at BARC.

    Here's where I think we're crossing wires....

    My view on dogfighting is that, beyond being an animal welfare issue, it's a criminal issue at heart. As is animal cruelty. Because of this I do believe it is the job of municipal government to put a stop to abusive cases, dogfighting etc.

    Where the ball is often dropped is what happens to the animals once the abuse is stopped. With the recent, very high profile, Vick case we saw a situation where the Government stepped in and put a stop to the criminal activity, and then farmed out the rehabilitation of the animals to local volunteer groups. The end result was that all but one of the dog's lives were saved, rehabilitated and adopted out to new homes. That's a lot higher success rate than you would find at BARC, even during the best of times. (which, we all agree, we are not currently experiencing.)

    So yes, when it comes to animal welfare etc. I believe that private charity is always going to be more loving and efficient than a government system. Most of this is due to a variance in mission. Dog rescue groups are all about the dog. The primary mission of agencies such as BARC is to protect the human population. We're asking a security guard to do interior design so to speak.

    When it comes to policing criminal that's a different story.

  3. I agree with you on policing criminal activity. The county and the city have to come together on this. My reference to a public/private partnership is in regards to BARC.

    The Corridor of Cruelty is pitiful for the animals and for the people that have to live next to criminal activities. Thank you for bringing attention to this issue that has to be stopped no matter who is elected on Saturday.



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