Atlanta couple works to save pit bulls - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Atlanta couple works to save pit bulls

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ATLANTA -

In recent years, we've seen the dangerous effects of pit bull fighting rings. If the dogs survive, they're often too aggressive to own as a pet. But Greg and Rebecca Collins are helping suspected fighting dogs beat the odds.

Every pit bull the Collins' encountered was met with a warm heart and an open door, even though the dogs showed signs of a rough life.

The Collins live in a quaint, unique neighborhood on Atlanta's northwest side. There were some minor crime problems, but Greg and his wife were more concerned by another trend they saw developing.

"We noticed a higher percentage of stray dogs running through the neighborhood than we had ever seen before, and most of them were pit bull type dogs," said Greg.

That wasn't the most troubling part. The stray pit bulls were all wounded.  When the Collins' found Lily, she had been tied with a wire that cut her so deep, it nearly severed her jugular vein.

"She was running in the neighborhood and she ran straight to Greg and she was just like help me," said Rebecca.

Another dog, Tyge, had clipped ears but not done by a professional.

"They want their tails and their ears docked because when you fight a dog, they don't want the other dog to get a handle on it. The tails and the ears are a handle to the dog that's fighting your dog," said Rebecca.

Fighting dogs are used to make money in fighting rings, and then left to die or roam the neighborhood.

"Some of the females had evidence of having been over bred. Then used as bait dogs, and then thrown out," Greg said.

That was Sweetpea's story. The Collins nursed her back to health and is now doing well. They've done that for 12 dogs in the nine years they've lived in the neighborhood. They've paid for all the vet bills, and healed all the wounds, even the emotional wounds that come along with fight dogs.

"They don't know anything. They've never been walked on a leash. They don't know any of the visual cues that people give to dogs. They don't look at their face for a long time because they're just not used to being handled. But once you get through to them, they're so devoted," said Rebecca.

The Pit Bull Saviors, as they've been called, have only kept a couple dogs through the years. They've found loving, permanent homes for the others. It makes some people scared to come to their home, not because of the pit bulls, but for fear of falling in love with them.

"We have a joke that if you hang out with us for too long or get to be too good friends with us, then you wind up with a pit bull," said Rebecca.

Greg and Rebecca say the number of pit bulls they've seen wandering the neighborhood has tapered off quite a bit in the last couple of years. They hope it's due to increased legislation of dog fighting rings.

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