MMA Fighters want to “Knock Out” Dog Fighting
Article Courtesy of Wendy Dwyer
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighters from the Treasure Coast and South Florida recently gathered for a very special training day at their local gym. In between the training matches, competitions, skills workouts, and very physical activity going on at the gym was some four-footed bonding with a very important message. A variety of dogs who have been rescued from horrible circumstances and are looking for a fresh, loving start in life, bounded into the ring and found unconditional love with MMA heroes who are dedicated to sharing the message that, “Real men play real sports. Dog fighting is not a sport; it’s a crime.”
And while the photo shoot was a challenge and a whole lot of fun for everyone involved, it was the message of the MMA fighters that really took center stage and helped energize the group. Their answer to the often-bandied around question, “Who’s the man?” was loud and clear. “Men who neuter and spay their dogs are the real heroes,” said an MMA fighter named Paulie Gavoni, who has been working with St. Lucie County’s United for Animals for many years and coordinated the gathering and photo shoot. “We know that MMA fighters are serious and tough athletes,” he continued. “But while MMA fighting is our sport, dog fighting is not now and never has been a sport. It’s a crime. Everyone who came out to the gym today is committed to being an ultimate winner and helping to Knock Out dog fighting.” On hand for the special ‘dog day’ were dogs from Bullies and Beyond, United Dog Rescue, and some rescues from United for Animals.
Susan Parry, founder of United for Animals, a nonprofit organization which helps rescue and rehome neglected and abused animals throughout St. Lucie County, echoed the message that dog fighters are animal abusers. “Far too often, we see the sweetest animals who have been neglected, abused, or trained to fight, when all they really want is to be loved and to share their loyalty with an owner who cares for them. And it’s not just fighting that we hope to ‘knock out,’ said Parry. “According to the ASPCA, an unspayed female dog and her offspring can produce 97,000 puppies in just seven years’ time.” And a female pit bull, who can begin her reproductive cycle as early as six months of age, stays in heat for 21 days. Combine that with the number of dogs who are left outside or tied to a house or tree, and you’ve got a formula for a whole lot of tragedy and the early demise of these beautiful, innocent creatures who want nothing more than to please their people.
Though spaying and neutering pets can be an expensive prospect for some families, St. Lucie County has a program that will help cover the costs for residents of the different municipalities. The forms are easy to fill out and could save you hundreds of dollars and a lifetime of misery for a dog. Simply visit www.stlucieco.gov, and click on the Animal Safety, Service & Protection link. The guidelines are listed under the Pet Registration link, where you can download a Spay Neuter Program Application, which is super-easy to fill out. Pets participating in the program can be spayed or neutered in the morning and picked up the same afternoon, and that’s exactly how the MMA Fighters hope you’ll get involved.
You don’t have to train three times a week or put on a pair of boxing gloves or mouth guard to help become an ultimate winner. All you have to do is care enough to help Knock Out dog fighting and give your four-legged friend the gift of better health and a better life through spaying and neutering. If you’d like to learn more or find out how you can help, call United for Animals at (772)979-4008.
Photo Courtesy of Wendy Dwyer