Forfeiture Laws Aid Recovery of Rescued Dogs
A puppy named Porkchop shows how civil asset forfeiture laws are being applied in dogfighting cases to speed up the recovery of rescued dogs and position them to be legally adopted.
In April 2016, an FBI-led gang task force recovered 64 dogs from a dogfighting ring in Illinois.
Within 24 hours, federal prosecutors filed a civil complaint seeking forfeiture of the dogs.
Rescued dogs used to have to wait in legal limbo during criminal cases.
But now civil forfeiture laws are used to speed up getting recovered dogs into good homes.
In the Illinois case, one of the rescued pit bull terriers had six puppies. She had been raised to fight and had to be euthanized.
But the pups were placed together with a foster family.
Five were adopted, even as the dogfighting case traveled through the legal system.
The foster family kept the last puppy, Porkchop.
Seven men were sentenced to prison in September 2017—more than a year after their arrests in the dogfighting case.
Civil forfeiture laws expedite the care of seized dogs while ensuring property owners have ample opportunity to assert their interest in the animals.
Porkchop’s owner, Laura Donaldson, said the rescued dogs have had good lives, thanks in part to forfeiture laws that are focused on animal welfare.
The Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, which refined the civil forfeiture process for animals, has assisted in about 1,000 dog seizures in the past three years.
Recovered dogs like Porkchop, who is 3 and weighs 60 pounds, now have a better chance at a bright future.
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