BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) – Ginja, the pit bull who was evidence in a dog fighting case, disappeared from the Buffalo Animal Shelter weeks ago but this weekend, was found.
There was a reward for Ginja’s safe return and without that reward the dog may not have been found. An animal rescue group from Long Island was called in to help in the search and they say her fighting scars help them positively ID her. “This dog was missing sometime in January; 90 days have gone by. Generally, you don’t get these dogs back,” said Robert Misseri the president of Guardians of Rescue.
The pit bull’s case drew nationwide attention as dog lovers united to try to find her. Misseri’s group attempts to save animals in cases such as this one. He says that his group had to hire a private investigator to track down the missing dog. “A lot had concerns that maybe she was out-of-state, maybe she was killed, but obviously thank God that wasn’t the case,” he said.
Misseri believes the person who stole Ginji had ties to Shannon Richardson, the man police believe was training the dog to fight. “We believe it was one of his friends,” said Misseri. Someone got Ginja back from the thief, then handed her over to Guardians of Rescue at a park on Saturday. “Once we had a strong lead, an attorney contacted us and it kind of fell back a few times, we lost the deal a few times, right up until yesterday,” Misseri explained.
News 4 visited Richardson’s house but he would not make a full statement, only saying he doesn’t have any friends.
Misseri says despite the dog being kept in a crate for the past few months, Ginja is in good condition and says she hadn’t been fighting since she was taken from the shelter. “The wounds on her face, most of them have faded. Obviously they were very fresh when she came into the shelter,” said Misseri.
Misseri says dog fighting is a problem in Buffalo. He has no doubts she would have had to fight to survive, if she hadn’t been found. “There’s no question she would have been put back in the circuit,” he said.
Misseri says Ginja is currently being kept in foster care until she can be adopted. Meanwhile, Buffalo Police say they have no official confirmation that the dog was found.