A group of dogs rescued from an alleged dogfighting ring in Canada arrived on the First Coast Tuesday.
Ten of the 14 dogs transported from Ontario will go to the local organization, Pit Sisters, for rehabilitation.
“I’m so happy that they’re here and they’re getting that chance,” Jen Deane, Executive Director of Pit Sisters, said, fighting tears. “And that we get to be a part of it.”
The dogs are part of a group of 31 rescued from an alleged dogfighting ring in Ontario, Canada back in 2015. The raid ultimately led to the arrests of five people, according to CTV News.
Sadly, three original 32 dogs died.
Jennifer Bluhm, deputy chief of the Ontario SPCA, said the American SPCA did behavior assessments on the remaining dogs. Seven dogs were deemed good candidates for rehabilitation and 11 puppies were born while in care of the OSPCA and were immediately socialized.
The dogs that arrived in Jacksonville Tuesday were from that group, Bluhm said.
“They were simply in limbo waiting for the other group of 21 to make their way through the court system so that they could eventually be placed in a program such as this or their forever home,” Bluhm said.
The other 21 dogs were deemed dangerous and recommended for euthanization.
Robert Scheinberg, who owns Ontario-based Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, stepped in.
“We fought to get them a second chance and a second assessment,” he said. “We didn’t know where it was gonna lead but I was very hopeful the whole time.”
Scheinberg launched the “Save the 21” campaign, which garnered endorsements from celebrities like Paris Hilton and Enrique Iglesias, according to CTV.
After the second assessment, an agreement was reached to send the dogs to another facility in Florida. They will arrive on a different transport at a later date.
But all the attention Tuesday was on the first transport, for which was paid for by Scheinberg’s organization.
“I was like a mom seeing her kids for the first time,” Deane said.
Deane plans to eventually enroll the dogs in the prison training program, TAILS, which will hopefully prepare them for adoption.