SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Dog trainer Cornelius Austin scours the streets of Los Angeles six days a week looking for stray or neglected animals.

“I just love working with dogs and seeing dogs in a comfortable place,” Austin said.

More and more – he says he’s finding abandoned dogs – that were trained by criminals to become vicious weapons.

“I’ve seen dogs that come to the shelter, they come to my class that got scars and stuff all over their face and you know they’ve been in a battle,” Austin said.

Authorities say they’ve seen a surge of dogs used to help commit crimes…

“They’ve been used in cases of robbery, rape, assault,” Attorney Ken Phillips said.

Phillips works exclusively on cases involving dog bites. He says some felons are using dogs like these instead of guns – to avoid being sent back to jail.

“A felon is not allowed to have weapons anywhere, they know a vicious dog can be used as successfully to commit a crime as a gun or a knife,” Phillips said.

In his classes, Austin works to reverse the training some of the animals received.

He’s helped rehabilitate hundreds of aggressive dogs like a pit bull named ‘Ali.’

“He had severe dog aggression. He’s done a 180 degree turn around,” Ali’s owner Shyann Swisher said.

While he admits not every animal can be saved, he says he owes it to the dogs to try.

“If a dog could talk, he’d have a lot to tell you. Like I always tell everybody, it’s not the dog it’s the people. It’s the people,” Austin said.


Comments (3)
  1. What Mr. P isn’t telling you is that he is a card carrying member of the dog hating group dogsbitedotorg. and would say anything to see them eradicated. It is a group with a seriously sick agenda that hides behind the victims of dog attacks to promote the extinction of dogs.. Any dog is a target for them, but mostly any dog with a blocky head and short fur. Pit bulls and any of their kind are all on their hit list as well as any medium to large dog. To learn more go to Zombies and It is a really good blog that explains the ins and outs of what people like Mr. P are all about. There are no bad dogs, only bad owners.

  2. Harve Morgan says:

    Dog hating group? Hardly. If you hate people being ripped to shreds, mothers sitting beside closed caskets, beloved pets being torn apart in front of their owners, then you could call DBO a dog hating group because DBO helps those victims of dangerous dogs. And the pit bull is at the head of the list for those fatalities and maulings, so you can say they ‘hate’ pit bulls. But seriously now how can you condemn those advocates like you have when those advocates want to stop these attacks by the pit bull breed. These advocates work tirelessly to prevent others from having to endure what they have endured because most of the advocates are victims themselves. Do you condemn MADD or do you support drunk driving? Also can you answer why then are there so many bad owners of pits based on the amount of attacks and fatalities, because no other breeds are doing this kind of damage. Could it be that pits were bred for one thing and only one thing – to kill – so therefore it stands to reason that those outcasts of society would want a pit bull and not a Shih Tsu. And those people don’t care about the safety of others. So to chalk it off to bad owners only says that pits are the popular choice for bad owners, all the more reason to regulate the breed.

    1. You do belong to a dog hater group Pattycakes, er Harve, or whatever your aka is this week. Not you or anyone else with dogliedotorg could give a rats hiney about any victims. Good cover though for your eradication agenda though. As someone who has watched you all in action over the last decade, you do not help victims at all. I have however seen you harass, and stalk the victims that won’t join you. Your group also has been know to harass animal control officers, rescues, newspaper reporters, and authors, let alone the thousands upon thousands of people that actually care about these dogs. The only thing you advocate for is the eradication of all dogs breeds. Cite statistics that have nothing to do with your group. Cite one that is independant from you and us. You can’t. Because all you know to go by is what you are spoon fed by your failed psychic leader. And you yourself going along with this madness. At one time I truly thought you were smarter than that. You totally proved me wrong. As far as me and everyone I know that own osne of these terrific animals, pit bulls are good dogs if they are treated and trained right. Because there are no bad dogs, only bad owners. End BSL.