City Paper is not for tourists
If you’re looking to find Trooper, the mangled pit bull ditched in a Southeast Dumpster by dog-fighting operatives last month, you may be disappointed. The dog is going to move soon from the Friendship Hospital for Animals to an undisclosed location.
As this NBC Washington video shows, the canine trauma victim has physically recovered from being mutilated and dumped. But if you were planning on pestering the Washington Humane Society about the healed animal becoming your pet, she’s not ready yet: “She needs her emotional recovery before she can be adopted out,” says the WHS’s Sabrina Fang.
That’s where the clandestine rescue center comes in—-it’s a spot where animal behaviorists will try to help Trooper get over her past.
WHS Program Officer Scott Giacoppo, who has made a career of busting dog fighters, says the the name and location of the center is well known in humane circles, but is otherwise kept confidential. Why? “They specialize in rehabbing fighting dogs and often times, dogs are taken from big name dog fighters and those dogs are very, very valuable.” The officer says there’s a possibility a former owner would come after a prized fighter.
“I hate to say it,” he explains of the rescue center, “but it’s almost like a witness protection program for dogs.”
In any event, the dog may end up having it better than some federal witnesses, who often have to find jobs. Giacoppo says the center will be a place of relaxation. “It’s a large facility where Trooper is guaranteed to get plenty of play time,” he says. He adds that the privately funded organization also gives dogs their own rooms instead of cages, and has an area where they can swim. The pit may even get some human cuddling: “They’ll have an individual assigned to Trooper who might even spend the night with her at times.”
The officer tells that once Trooper is given the OK by behaviorists, she can be placed with a family. And what if the experts don’t give the OK? That possibility hardly excites Giacoppo. “If they find that she’s too aggressive,” he says,” we’ll have to look at other options.”
Photo courtesy of the Washington Humane Society