Wichita animal rescue rehabs bait dogs, gives them new life

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita animal rescue group is on a mission to save and rehabilitate dogs used in dog fighting operations.

Wichita animal control officers found what they believe to be a bait dog, a dog used to train and groom fight dogs, over the weekend in the 900 block of north Grove.

The dog, now named Dante, had deep cuts to his head, neck and chest. His teeth were also knocked out or filed down.

Beauties and Beasts Inc, a local animal rescue group, adopted Dante from the city shelter on Monday. Rescue members are now hoping to rehabilitate him like they have several other possible bait dogs in the past.

“You think about the ones that weren’t saved, which ones died, which ones never got the help, which ones were left in the ring and bled to death and were thrown away like they were nothing,” said Beauties and Beasts Inc. board member Randi Carter. “They need somebody to care for them because the people who do this don’t care.”

Carter and her team took on their first bait dog, Abel, in May of 2015 after he wound up at the city’s shelter covered in puncture wounds.

“He had wounds on the back of his neck right here, both sides of his face were torn up. He was thrown in with other aggressive dogs that he couldn’t defend himself against,” Carter said.

Abel had to have reconstructive surgery to his neck. He spent several weeks at an animal hospital in Newton. When Carter got Abel back, she slowly started training him.

“It starts with him being able to be kenneled close to a dog, each dog is different, so we started that way,” she said.

Carter then started taking Abel on walks. First, by himself and then with a second dog nearby.

“We will separate dogs by a block. We will see if they are constantly looking back for the dog,” Carter said. “If we don’t see something there we will let them get a little bit closer. Typically, on our walks when we are ready to get them real close we will put the muzzle on one of the dogs, that way it’s safe.”

After Abel got comfortable around other dogs, Carter started teaching him simple commands. He is now able to do a variety of commands and even some tricks.

Carter and her team have been successful rehabilitating several other dogs including one that came into the shelter in February with nearly 100 puncture wounds. That dog, Thor, is now at a foster home.

Beauties and Beasts is caring for another dog, Duncan, who they believe was used as a bait dog. He has been with the rescue for about two months. Since being with the rescue, Duncan has been able to interact with other animals and go on walks.

The rescue plans to rehabilitate and train Dante in the same way with the goal of giving him a new life.

“They are the best of what we teach them to be, so if you teach them something positive they will be great at it. If you teach them something negative they are going to be great at it,” Carter said. “It proves what these guys can come back from and it proves what they really are inside.”