Saturday, February 27, 2010

'CSI' Star Jorja Fox, HSUS Team Up Against Dogfighting

Growing up in rural Florida, CSI actress Jorja Fox was aware of the dark world of dogfighting. But she didn't know all the dirty details until she teamed with the Humane Society of the United States to help with their End Dogfighting campaign. "The more you know, the less you want to know," Fox tells "It's terrifying."

Fox is in Chicago to host this weekend's Spotlight Humane: Chicago, an annual benefit to raise funds for End Dogfighting in Chicago. "I'm so excited," she says. "When I heard about this project last spring, I called the Humane Society and said if they wanted help, to call on me. It's a brilliant program." Fox calls it a "triple-win," as the community-based initiative works from a grassroots level to get kids and adults off the dogfighting circuit and into free dog-training classes and other humane educational programs — saving dogs in the process. Launched in 2006, it expanded to Atlanta in 2008.

"Pit bulls are smart and healthy — they can do so much," Fox says. "So the organization works to get kids showing that off, and getting excited about that, instead of falling into the dark side." Fox explains that it's not only pit bulls at risk, either. "Dogs like Malteses and Jack Russell terriers end up getting stolen in communities where kids are dogfighting, used as training material for the pit bulls," she says. "It's awful."

One dog that's safe from the dark world of dogfighting? Fox's rescue boxer pup Ali. "She's 13 years old, so she's elderly," Fox jokes. "If she were a human she'd have a cane and hearing aids!" Adopted by the actress when she was just 10 months old, she's "been with me through everything," Fox says. "It's the oldest comment in the book, but she's my best friend."

Fox hopes that her work with End Dogfighting will result in many more happy human-dog endings, just like hers. "If you're not treating your animal well, you'll never know what a great force they can be in your life," she says. "They're healers, lovers, friends. They make life fun."