Love, time required as part of rehab for canines involved in dog fighting

Rehabbing dogs after fighting

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - He's a seventy-pound pocket pit bull that's all muscle. And his name is Legend.

But don't let his size scare you.

"Legend is a teddy bear. He snuggles on the couch. He loves everybody he meets," says his grandmom, Heather Wyatt.

When Wyatt first met him about five years ago, he'd been involved in a dog fighting operation.

"He was skin and bones, emaciated, scarring on his face, his body," she recalls. "And we believe his vocal cords were cut." Meaning he was most likely a bait dog.

Wyatt, a foster mom with Two by Two Rescue, has fostered Legend and a handful of other fighting dogs and believes they can be rehabilitated and even become family pets.

"You just take baby steps. You get her to trust people first and then you slowly get that she is not going to get starved and she's not going to get beaten and then you introduce her to the family and other dogs," she says, explaining some of the techniques she uses.

Depending on the dog's temperament and the trauma they've been through, it may take some dogs longer - even years - to come around.

And some, Wyatt admits, can never make that turn, but that doesn't change her perspective.

"I think every dog that has been in dog fighting deserves a chance. Before, they used to automatically euthanize them, but I think they should be professionally evaluated and gone through the steps and see if they can be rehabilitated," Wyatt says.

She then smiles and looks down at her grand-dog. "Legend is proof of that. He absolutely is."

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.