As the day begins, we sort through hundreds of photos and links covering the intake for the day before. We think the lists are growing longer each time. We see dogs picked up as strays, dogs surrendered by owners for few reasons, dogs left behind in vacant houses or yards, dogs tossed off bridges, found almost dead on the road, some of them starving, some of them sick, some of them barely able to walk; some just lost and wandering, wondering why they have been abandoned and why the world is so cruel.

This is the life of rescuers.

But little can prepare one for the horror of seeing a dog clinging to life as the result of dog fighting.

Nathan was one of these who brought me to my knees. Last week a fellow rescuer found Nathan, a lonely, sad pit bull at Fort Worth Animal Care and Control. His face was rotting off. He had been used as a “bait dog” and had endured so much trauma and injury without any veterinary care that his flesh was falling off his face and gangrene had set in everywhere.

His nose was torn away and there was a hole into his skull where his nose had been; his mouth was not discernable. His teeth had been sharpened to make him inflict harm on his tormentors and make them fight harder. He could barely stand, and he was skin and bones. The pads of his feet were hard and calloused where he was most likely chained on cement for a very long time.

He probably never knew warmth. We know he never knew kindness. His eyes bore a sadness I will never be able to wipe from my memory.

Nathan was whisked away to the vet’s office where reconstructive surgery would begin. A day later, Nathan’s poor, emaciated, abused, tortured body gave up. His spirit left his broken life and he crossed the bridge to wherever dogs have a better chance at love.

There is an ugly undertow swirling in Fort Worth. It is the face of dog fighting often accompanied by drugs, gambling, prostitution and the darkest of all human activities. It goes on in garages and fields and old warehouses, anywhere people can gather without being subjected to the law, where spectators jeer and cheer and drink in the violence of sheer blood and horror.

Small children are often seen in these crowds.

Rescuers know the neighborhoods and the signs: dogs on chains, dogs being beaten, dogs being bred indiscriminately in back yards and sold to fight. The number of stolen dogs in Fort Worth is rising, many being used and tortured to create bloodlust in dogs to be used to fight.

The sweet, gentle dogs who refuse to fight are used as bait while their faces and necks are torn open and ripped apart. Sometimes their mouths are taped shut so they can’t fight back. Once they give up they are tossed aside in gutters, left on back roads to die alone or wrapped in garbage bags and thrown in the city dump.

Many of these tortured souls die a long and painful death, suffering for hours or days waiting for their final breath to come and release them from their hell.

We have a problem and its face is cruelty. If you know about abuse and do not speak up, you become an accessory to the crime. Wake up, Fort Worth. We have a problem.

“This reduced me to tears, these people aren’t human, having children watch…that’s the next generation of abusers!!  Do you think their going to care about animals having witnessed so many horrific fights?  If they live in a neighbour hood full of gangs, street crime & fights,  how does one go about teaching them it’s wrong?”

 The parents obviously don’t care, if they allow their children to witness such gruesome acts towards animals… So perhaps the education system should step up?.  Scrap the biology class’s that teach kids how to cut up frogs & mice,  stop those schools that let the kids dissect cats;  what purpose does that serve apart from giving kids idea’s on how to abuse the family pet!!

“The curriculum should teach the kids about living breathing animals, including animal welfare, the farming & agricultural industry, mammals & how some animals are on the brink of extinction due to human interference & global warming  etc.   Hopefully, some will then go on be the next generation of animal advocates instead of animal abusers!!”