On Saturday July 10, 2010, a significant event took place at the Humane Society of Missouri’s Macklind shelter: the first anniversary reunion of the largest dog fighting bust in the history of the United States. There were over 200 people and over 50 dogs at the event. Most of the dogs were rescues from the July 2009 bust, but there were also two dogs from the pre-cursor bust, the Stoddard County bust in October 2007. Smiley King Elvis and Fiona were there, representing the Stoddard County survivors.
The festivities kicked off with a greeting from HSMO president Kathy Warnick, followed by a few words from VP of Operations Debbie Hill. The final speaker was HSMO volunteer Todd Ribbick, who gave a stirring talk about the string of nearly impossible events that culminated in many of the rescued dogs finding homes and becoming beloved pets. During his talk, many of the listeners started crying as they recalled the hard work and love that went into caring for the rescued dogs. Also, I’m sure, many of those tears were shed for the dogs, those in loving homes and those not, who touched the workers’ hearts. Following Todd’s speech, several people put ashes from beloved dogs who didn’t make it into a common box to be put into the Memorial Wall at Macklind’s facility.
The activities then moved over to the actual facility. A special montage was shown, spanning the day of the rescue and the care of the dogs at the warehouse shelter, as well as thanking many of the people involved in the entire operation. There were very few dry eyes after that! Personally, I was doing okay until I saw the picture of Fay, Gale, and me. Some memories take a long time to lose their sting.
After that, things got rocking! Shelter workers and volunteers got reacquainted with some of the dogs who were brought there by their adopters. Foster parents did the same. There were tails wagging everywhere. It was quite an impressive scene: all those rescued dogs, a year later, being loved on by people they seemed to remember from the shelter and from their foster homes. The dogs even seemed to remember each other: perhaps they shared some sort of “group memory” of the hell they had survived and left behind.
In addition to the people involved with rescuing, caring for, and adopting the “Missouri 500,” newspaper and television reporters were there to cover the festivities. Perhaps you saw some coverage on the news Saturday night. If not, or to see more, go to http://www.fox2now.com/videobeta/a76d02f1-012b-40bb-a25c-f43c27dfd009/News/Reunion-For-Survivors-Of-Largest-Dog-Fighting-Raid-In-U-S-History.