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Seized dogs have fighting chance to find happy homes

A dozen dogs seized in a raid of an alleged Englewood dogfighting operation could be on their way to happier homes.

Animal rescue groups already are evaluating a dozen of the 13 dogs seized in a raid of Larue Jackson’s home, in the 6300 block of South Throop, prompted by tips from neighbors who believed Jackson was operating a dogfighting operation. Inside the house, Cook County Sheriff’s deputies and Chicago Police found scarred, hungry dogs and a basement spattered with blood.

Jackson, who faced similar charges in 2008 and 2012, immediately relinquished ownership of 12 of the dogs upon his arrest. Now that the dogs are city property, rescue groups have begun an extensive evaluation of their health and temperament, said Cynthia Bathurst, executive director of Safe Humane Chicago, an anti-cruelty organization that specializes in working with dogs that have been subjected to fighting or abuse. Authorities still are trying to determine ownership of one of the 13 dogs.

“In general, these dogs are frightened. Some of them have signs they have been abused in some way, scars and such,” Bathurst said Tuesday.

Safe Humane’s Court Case Dog program takes on about 70 percent of the animals seized in similar raids, and moves them on to other rescue groups that will work with the dogs until they can be adopted as pets, Bathurst said.

The group refers another 10 percent to rescue groups or sanctuaries that deal with tougher cases, and the remaining 20 percent of animals they encounter are either too sick or too aggressive for rehabilitation.

Tuesday also marked the release date for Safe Humane’s collection of dog rescue stories, “Ruff Road Home: Court Case Dogs of Chicago,” which recounts the tales of more than 20 dogs rescued through the Court Case Dogs program, Bathurst said.

Copies of the book are available at the Safe Humane Chicago website at www.safehumanechicago.org.