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If You Find A Cat With Purple Paws, It Needs Your Help: It’s Being Used As Bait

In May of 2017, a Florida cat shelter received a peculiar new rescue: a sweet gray and white cat with purple paws. The wandering feline had been picked up by animal control and seemed in good health despite the odd markings. Sadly, though, this wasn’t a case of a child getting carried away with markers. This cat had been marked as bait.

Megan Sorbara, the owner of Naples Cat Alliance, knew immediately that this new addition had escaped a horrible fate. Though she’d seen her fair share of shocking cases come through her doors – from neglect to abuse – this was evidence of something far worse. The cat, dubbed Mr. Purple Paws, had apparently been color-coded by dogfighters to use as bait. (1)

Purple Paws For A Sinister Purpose

In a Facebook post that garnered over 380 shares, Sorbara detailed the sick practice of dogfighters to entertain their crowds. White parts of cats are frequently colored in various hues to keep track of “bets” during these clandestine sporting events. They’re then thrown to a pack of dogs and made to battle it out for survival. Pictures of Mr. Purple Paws, accompanying the post, sparked outrage and sadness at this little-known practice. https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FNaples.Cat.Alliance%2Fposts%2F1309192722469516&width=500

Many commenters expressed shock. “I had not heard of this horrendous thing,” one user wrote. “I really don’t know how people can be so cruel,” another person added. Since dogfighting operates underground, many are clueless about the horrors that go on undercover. Sorbara hopes that sharing Mr. Purple Paws’ story will shed more light on this particular brand of cruelty, and ultimately lead to better awareness and prosecution of the organizers. While this furry feline somehow managed to escape his fate, an unknown number of cats are not so fortunate. (2)

An Underground Danger

Dogfighting has been documented in the United States since at least the 1750s, though it is now a felony in all 50 states. Because it’s so secretively practiced, it’s impossible to determine just how widespread the problem has become. Estimates based on dogfighting publications and shelter animals showing signs of fighting indicate that tens of thousands may be involved.

The main reason for dogfighting’s popularity is money. The ASPCA notes that, during major dogfight raids, thousands of dollars have been seized from the betting taking place. This doesn’t include money exchanged through stud fees and sales of puppies from fighter bloodlines. (3)

How You Can Help

Mr. Purple Paws was fortunate to be found and adopted out to a loving family. Many of his fellow felines will not have the same happy ending. Spreading awareness is one way to bring this cruel practice into the light. Not only will this help more at-risk cats to be rescued, but it may also alert you to illegal dogfighting activity going on in your area. Alerting animal shelters and local law enforcement will provide them with more information on any investigations that may already be open. Rescuing at-risk kitties like Mr. Purple Paws could be saving them from a potentially disastrous fate, giving them a second chance at a loving, safe life.

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