Thank you Mayor Ernest Davis! Thank you for taking a stand against dogfighting, and for letting Floyd serve as your spokesdog during your news conference.
Wounded pit bull shown as Mount Vernon mayor condemns dog fighting
MOUNT VERNON -Floyd, a gentle older pit bull who is blind in one eye, sat next to Mayor Ernest Davis at City Hall yesterday as the star of his own news conference.
The dog was found Tuesday critically injured and abandoned in the middle of a Mount Vernon street. And though he couldn't speak for himself, his supporters said it all for him.
"If you are that inhumane to a dog, you will be that inhumane to a child, a person, an adult," said Paula Young, director of the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter. "It's like taking your grandmother and throwing her out in the middle of a war."
Davis, who is running for re-election this year, described Floyd as a victim of "the horrible culture of dog fighting," which he warned is spreading thanks to celebrities such as Michael Vick, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback recently indicted on federal dog-fighting charges. Vick pleaded not guilty.
The mayor is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of those who caused Floyd's vicious wounds. Tips can be called in to 914-941-7797.
Heidi Steinman and Carlos Vernia found the dog on a side street off Columbus Avenue. Steinman said she saw the dog about 5:30 p.m., lying with a cup of water next to him. Vernia, who owns a business near where Floyd was found, also is offering a reward for leads in the case.
Sean Dabise of the Mount Vernon Animal Shelter carefully held the dog throughout the news conference. Dabise was the first official to respond to the scene. He said Floyd was paralyzed when he first got to the dog. After he rolled the dog up in a blanket, he said, Floyd "gave him a little look" that told him the animal had the will to live.
Floyd's namesake is heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson, but the dog did not receive his wounds from fighting, officials said. The dog was what Ken Ross, chief of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' humane law enforcement division, calls a "big dog," one used as bait to train the "money dogs" to fight.
Young said this is not her first encounter with a dog injured in this way. Five to six injured dogs come in a month, she said, some with red or silver tape on their tails identifying them as targets in the training of other fighting dogs.
Ross said the SPCA has found "discarded bodies, chewed-up bodies" on the street. Organized fights, or "scratch matches," can offer bets of $5,000 to $15,000, discounting side bets, he said. "Pickup fights" -unorganized matches - are on the rise on the street, he said.
Davis said that kittens recently were stolen from an animal shelter and that the thieves might intend to use them in place of dogs as bait.