Tio’s Work to End Pitbull Dog Fighting Across the United States
Philadelphia will be the newest city to launch the Humane Society of the United States’ anti-dogfighting program, thanks in part to a recent donation by the Philadelphia Eagles, the team that picked up convicted dog fighter Michael Vick.
The program, called the End Dogfighting campaign, recruits former dogfighters and young, at-risk pit bull owners to take weekly training classes with their pets. The program already exists in several cities, including Atlanta and Chicago.
‘A World Of Opportunity’
Tio Hardiman grew up in the projects on Chicago’s West Side and helped set up the End Dogfighting program about five years ago.
He says kids like Terrence Murphy might win $100 during a dogfight, but in a high-end operation similar to what Vick was involved in, the sums can be much larger.
Hardiman says Vick represents a lot of young people across the country who are growing up in a culture of violence.
“He’s giving his testimony to young men and women across America and educating these guys, saying, ‘Look, I fell from a high place in society, and you normally don’t get a second chance.’ ”
Hardiman says there’s a connection between fighting pit bulls and struggling to live in a violent society. He says keeping guys out of the world of dogfighting is good for them, their dogs, their families and the rest of the community.
“Now this guy is making sure his dog gets his shots, he’s making sure it’s eating a balanced diet. All these things are very important. These guys are making sure the dogs get the proper exercise. It opens up a world of opportunity for these young men,” Hardiman says.