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13 Rescued Pit Bulls Arrive at N. Hempstead Shelter

Dogs rescued from fighting ring receiving care in Port Washington.

In her 35 years at the Town of North Hempstead Animal Shelter in Port Washington, Director Susan Hassett has never witnessed anything as disturbing as the brutality she found in a New Cassel garage early Saturday morning. That’s when Nassau County police discovered 18 pit bulls, many of them wounded, as part of a dog-fighting ring.

“Horrifying,” Hassett said. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Alerted by police Saturday at about 1 a.m., Hassett headed over to 721 Broadway in New Cassel where inside a garage on the property she saw a small makeshift boxing ring made of plywood.

“There were dogs still in the ring that were being fought,” she said. “Their conditions were horrible, horrible. We seized 18 dogs.”

While the incident remains under investigation, police have charged Monica Christopher, 38, who lives at the New Cassel property. Police say they found syringes and penicillin and steroids, as well as two treadmills that they say were used to train dogs for fighting. They also found pens to store the dogs throughout the house.

The five dogs that were actively fought were hospitalized, but three had to be euthanized because of their injuries, Hassett said.

Some of the dogs that were actively fought have old wounds, and mangled legs. The two still in the hospital have broken bones, Hassett said.

The dogs are considered evidence by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. But ultimately the dogs may be put up for adoption, Hassett said.

“We’re just basically babysitting the dogs, making sure they’re OK, taking care of medical needs,” she said. If and when the dogs are released, “we will evaluate each one of them and do the best we can to have them adopted,” Hassett said. “There are quite a few dogs here that are under six months, so their prospects are great."

The dogs, Hassett said, “are pretty thin” and “obviously didn’t get any TLC where they were.”

As for their temperament, Hassett said her team was able to handle “most every one of the 18 dogs.”

“People have the wrong idea of some of the fighting dogs,” she added. “They’re trained to fight dogs, but they’re perfectly fine with people. Dogs trust us.”

“Unfortunately, with rings, they move, so those dogs, had not someone called, they would have been next,” Hassett said.

Hassett urges anyone who thinks they come across a dog fighting ring to call police.

As for the incident in New Cassel, Hassett said, “Whoever made the call saved that dog's life," noting, “some of those dogs we picked up were puppies.”

Laurie Lat January 29, 2013 at 01:59 PM
I feel such a sense of sadness to read this. Poor dogs, ignorance and greed. I hate dog fighters and I hope if anyone sees this going on, they call the police right away. You could save a life.
Lucy Muir February 22, 2014 at 11:50 PM
So you're only going to adopt them out to people in neighborhoods where there are zero cats or dogs. don't put one of those things in my neighborhood. i don't want to be the person crying to the reporter about how my dog was looking into my eyes for help as the pit bull ripped her entrails out of her body.
Laurie Lat February 24, 2014 at 12:07 PM
"Those things" I hope you are referring to the dog fighters and not the dogs. The dogs did nothing wrong. This is a free country and thank God we don't have BSL here. Lucy, these dogs have a right to a new beginning, free of abuse. I would welcome them.

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