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Michael Vick and what a few local boys didn't learnPosted Sunday, October 21, 2007, at 9:20 PM
Corey Noles photo Not much need for a caption here.
Writing as a journalist I can't insert my opinions or share my thoughts as I see things, so that's what I'm going to do here tonight.
When I went to bed Saturday night, after the Annual Bess Truman dinner that I had covered earlier, I knew I would be back at work before dawn but I didn't know the specifics.
At about 1 a.m. Sunday I pulled up to the home where Jamie Sifford lived and ran his "operation". Numerous law enforcement officials and the Humane Society Animal Rescue crew filled the yard and walked the road searching for more dogs.
I've seen footage of dog fights on HBO Undercover and some other shows, but I've never witnessed what happens afterwards.
As I walked up to one of the three Humane Society vans I came to a pair of small Pit Bulls chained to posts. My first reaction was to jump because they had startled me, but they weren't what I had expected.
When I think of dog fighting, what comes to mind are snarling beasts that remind me of The Hounds of Hell from the 80's horror flick The Lost Boys.
The first dog, a young red Pit Bull that scared me initially, slowly walked over towards me with his head tucked down to the ground. Reluctantly, I reached out to pet him and he stretched his neck and licked my hand. I guess I had gone out there with the idea that these dogs would treat people the way they have been trained to treat other animals.
As I was petting this young pup, we were standing not five feet from one of the guys soon to be charged in this fiasco.
Next, I was shown the barn where the fights had taken place. At first glance, it looked like any other barn. But, a single stall right between four horses told a much different story.
Lining the bottom of this stall where I imagine several dogs have met their end, was a mess of old carpet and a plastic poster. All stained with the blood and urine of the dogs scattered about the property.
Across the barn from that stall was a utility type room where a Pit Bull mother and five VERY young pups laid feeding.
All of this just made it so much more clear who the real monsters were here and it wasn't the dogs.
A clearing back in the woods about a half-mile from the house and barn is where the majority of the dogs were found.
Each hooked to about 10-feet of chain and many with bandaged wounds, they all looked so pitiful (as is clear from the photos) and were just as friendly and starved for attention as the first I came across.
Some of the dogs had fresh bandages, assumed to be treating wounds from Thursday night's fights. It's amazing that after the way these people treat the dogs, they also treat their wounds. I guess that's because there's no money to be made from dead dogs.
The careful attention given by the Humane Society workers and all of the law enforcement agencies should be commended. This group of individuals worked over night and through Sunday making sure everything was in order and taken care of.
I don't really know where I'm going with this, I suppose because this is the first minute I've had to sit and reflect on the whole incident.
I just felt like it was important to share not only my story, but my emotions.
I just finished writing the story that will post Monday and it relayed the events, but not the story as it was felt. Trying to tell a story like this without emotion simply won't do it justice.
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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.
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