Phillips County sheriff's deputies responded Thursday morning to a call from the Humane Society of the Delta (HSD), located at 8480 Phillips 300.
At 6 a.m. Humane Society workers arrived to find 13 dogs missing from their outdoor kennels. As they searched the area for the missing dogs, they made a gruesome discovery. Five of the 13 dogs set loose were injured, two sustained serious injuries. The dogs were transported to a local veterinarian for treatment.
The attack occurred sometime between 6 p.m. Wednesday afternoon and early Thursday morning. The HSD believes that someone brought a dog in and staged a fight using the humane society dogs as "bait dogs" to train fight dogs.
According to an HSD staff spokesperson, "They were all locked up and somebody had to release them."
According to Beth Florek, "Our concern, with Halloween coming up, is to have so many animals outside because we just do not have a way to accommodate them inside yet...but it never crossed our mind that someone would let the dogs out and fight them."
She continued, "Phillips County has a lot of fighting rings and we need to provide education about that- to remind everybody that it is against the law."
Florek related that if anyone has any information about illegal dog fighting in the area, call law enforcement or the tip hotline at 1-888-996-8847. The HSD just reported a break in as recently as early summer. During that break in, the perpetrator "busted through a door, went in, and stole dog food and a money bag that had $50 in it." Said Florek.
The Humane Society of the Delta currently houses 80 dogs and 25 cats plus 20 puppies currently in foster care in the area. The Society is currently not funded, leaving the financial responsibility of over $100,000 annually to care for the animals and routine maintenance to a few dedicated shelter workers. The president of the HSD, Gloria Higginbotham related, "This is the county and city's job. It is part of their city charter that they are supposed to provide a way to control the animals and we have been doing their job for them."
Higginbotham currently cares for 26 animals at her home because of space limitations at the shelter. If you would like to adopt or foster an animal, call the Humane Society of the Delta at 870-228-2859 or you can make a donation to PO Box 3218, West Helena, AR 72390. The HSD also has a website: www.humanesocietyofthedelta.org and a Facebook page.