Image Credit: Lisa Ward Photography
In recognition of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day on April 8, it’s time for Sweet Pea to finally get her day in the spotlight. She will be featured on billboards located at Rt. 73 near the Tacony Palmyra Bridge and on the corner of Torresdale and Frankford Avenues in Philadelphia.
Sweet Pea was used as a “bait dog” — a live training dummy for fighting dogs to attack or maim – making her highly disposable in the dogfighting operation.
Fighting dogs increase revenue through wagers in the thousands of dollars and other illegal activities.
Kathy McGuire, president and founder of NJ Aid for Animals, who saved Sweet Pea emphasized, “Despite being a felony in all 50 states, dog fighting is an industry that requires animal cruelty to function.
It continues to grow while other illegal activities sustain it. Dog fighting never operates in isolation and dog fighters are willing to risk penalties for animal cruelty.
Wagering on the lives of these dogs is just a glimpse of what goes on. Sweet Pea’s life was caught up in the multi-million dollar dog-fighting industry.”
McGuire should know. The Cedar Brook, NJ house she purchased in 2004 was one of the largest dog fighting headquarters on the East Coast according to ex-NJSCA cruelty officer, Stuart Goldman, who was involved in the search and seizure of the home.
In 2018, Sweet Pea’s gentle personality and love of everyone garnered a Resolution from the State of New Jersey:
Whereas: The Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey are pleased to honor Sweet Pea, a highly esteemed canine member of the Garden State community, who has been designated as the Official Face of Dogfighting Awareness and Be It Resolved by the Senate and General Assembly that this Legislature hereby lauds Sweet Pea and her remarkable spirit.
Assemblyman James Kennedy said, “I gladly voted in favor of making Sweet the Official Face of Dog Fighting Awareness for the State of NJ. I have met her and she is a wonderful companion and special dog at the same time a victim and a survivor. There are so many that do not make it.”
Flora Edwards, Board Member for NJ Aid for Animals and the attorney who authored the amicus sentencing brief on behalf of the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case says: “Dogfighting is the most deplorable form of animal cruelty. It is the responsibility of every decent person to take a stand and be counted against this illegal and inhumane treatment of man’s best friend.”
Sweet Pea has been celebrated by her supporters at events to raise funds for other dogs like her with no advocate. Visit her on Facebook at The Sweet Pea Fund.
Founded in 2005, NJ Aid for Animals is an all-volunteer, tax-exempt non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is a proactive approach to a pets’ well-being which includes spaying and neutering and life-saving vaccines and stopping animal abuse.