Dog fighting is an underground bloodsport that made its way into mainstream news with the Michael Vick case. Most people in animal welfare have either worked with survivors of dog fighting or heard myths about them. Dr. Carley Faughn and Morgan Rivera will share their experiences with survivors and aim to debunk some of the many myths that surround these dogs. They will share their experiences using pictures, videos, and firsthand testimonials. There is a need for more data and research to prove what they know to be true: these are simply dogs that come from a tough background but deserve to be treated the same way as any other dog that finds themselves in the care of animal welfare professionals. Mainly, each dog should be treated as individuals to understand who they are and what their likes and dislikes are so that animal welfare professionals can find safe placement for them within a community.
Morgan Rivera has been involved in animal welfare since 2003 and has held various positions from volunteer to Shelter Manager and nearly everything in between. She has started Pet Safety Net Programs, worked as a relief vet tech, and managed a large non-profit, low cost veterinary clinic. She earned her CPDT-KA in 2018, is a member of IAABC's Shelter Affiliate Division, and is set to graduate with her Master's in Shelter Medicine in the spring of 2022. After being a longtime volunteer for the Humane Society of the United States she joined the staff in 2017 and has held various roles in her time with them, including managing their temporary shelters, responding to natural disasters, and acting as a consultant for shelters that have sought the expertise of HSUS's Animal Rescue and Response Team.