Removing animals from allegedly abusive situations is not the same thing as providing an adequate level of humane care. In fact, "puppy mill" dogs are often put in even more abusive situations at the impound or in foster care. They are often killed. In fact the HSUS both decries the alleged rough treatment of pitbull type dogs and works hard to get them killed.
Fighting against abuse attracts sadistic people. They get their jollies by attacking people who they know that few or none will defend, just like they got their jollies when they beat up small children in high school, violating some of our society's most sacred tenants, particularly the protection of innocence. They get the same thrill out of this as does the child molester or rapist. It's the violence that attracts them, and the opportunity to drain mana from people by domineering them. It's a sick thrill.
There's talk on the forums about creating an organization that helps animal owners who are in trouble. Someone has suggested that the organization only turn into the law those very worst abusers. I'm not comfortable with the idea of any loopholes. The mere allegation of abuse with zero substantiation is already adequate to get the police to raid someone's home. They do not have to prove injury to the animals. Instead of diligently protecting the rights of the humans who they go after, puppy mill raiders do everything that they can to circumvent human rights. We do not live in a situation in which anyone can be reported for animal abuse and be certain of a fair trial.
The thing that should attract the most disapproval and punishment is the circumvention or violation of human rights. Alex Pacheco should have been jailed for a minimum of five years. He committed acts of animal abuse in order to stage photographs to use to bear false witness against Dr. Edward Taub at Silver Springs. In fact, he delayed medical progress by a few years in the area of treatment of human victims of strokes and CVAs.
This is to drive home the point that helpers of animal owners should exercise loyalty to their employers, even as volunteers, and they should suffer when they do dirt to their employers. Whistleblower protection is abused of it protects someone who stages an alleged incident. And I'm sorry, some people may disagree, but letting an animal die without paying thousands of dollars for a kidney transplant is simply not a crime. Because the option of reporting someone for animal abuse results in abuses itself, it is useless and worse than useless.
An ethic needs to prevail that is entirely positive. Every bit of diligence must be exercised to stay within that ethic, too, and to err on the side of the rights of the owner of the animals. Some animal deaths, injuries, and suffering will result from this, but I believe far less than results from the puppy mill raider system. We also must count the loss of animals. We may have lost millions of canine lives due to those who were never born. Also we have lost a lot of lions, tigers, cougars, bears, housecats, and just about everything else. Neglect is considered a form of abuse. It is also neglect, which is forced on people far too many times, to fail to breed animals.
If you want to compare moral imperatives, compare the imperative of survival of a species with the imperative to reduce abuses of the animals. One is at odds with the other. We have to admit that there will be abusive situations as long as their are animals. We are also damned if we don't, as I said in the previous paragraph. So, as a mature and responsible choice, we must decide what is more beneficial to the animals. I've been among a lot of animals and seen that they consider existence to be of benefit to them. Everyone knows that nature is a bloody mess out there, and it's only the lucky that make it past the first year and reproduce. Humans are more efficient at producing animals that survive to reproductive age and this is a good thing. Reproduction may or may not need to be regulated, but if we do kill a large percentage of that which we assist to breed, we're just taking care of nature's business.
The uniquely human context is one in which we feel tenderness for members of other species. Dogfighters are pretty much just being animals. This does not place humanity beneath the animals. In fact many dogfighters work hard to be good to their animals outside of the ring, as can still be learned in some books that haven't yet been banned. Instead of thinking of them as dragging us down, we would do far better to think of ourselves as doing our best to climb that ladder towards enlightenment and better relations with our natures. All but the meanest of capable humans share our homes with animals, just about any animal. Every animal taken into a home and fed and sheltered shows compassion. The spectrum correctly runs from some compassion to a lot of compassion, or from some love to a lot of love. People who hoard should be revered and treated as saints even though it's messy. It's not really compassion for people if you can't tolerate mess and smell. People who breed also deserve the utmost respect and care because they are doing things that the animals need, helping them evolve and propagate.