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The Dog Fighter – an Interview with Gordon “Shotgun” Shell

“You think dogs will not be in heaven?  I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.”

~Robert Louis Stevenson

 There isn’t much I wouldn’t do to help dogs, but for all of my efforts I must admit that I have found somebody whose devotion to man’s best friend makes mine look inadequate.

His name is Gordon “Shotgun” Shell.

Shell is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter from Detroit who was forced into early retirement in 2010 due to a heart condition.

Now he fights a different battle – he has waged war on dog fighting.

Dog fighting is an abhorrent activity that is much more common than many people know.

Here are just a few statistics about it:

  • Over a thousand arrests were made for dog fighting in the U.S. between 2003 and 2008
  • An estimated 40,000 individuals are involved in professional dog fighting in the U.S.
  • While exact amounts are hard to pin point, a top bet in a professional dog fight can go up to $100,000
  • Dog fighting is a felony offense in all 50 states

The most publicized case involving dog fighting was that of NFL quarterback Michael Vick, who, along with three of his associates, was convicted on federal and state charges related to illegal dog fighting.

Gordon Shell wafight me mike vicks so outraged by Vick’s involvement with dog fighting that he challenged Vick to a pay-per-view cage match with the proceeds going to animal rescue groups.

Vick has yet to respond to the challenge.

Shell has left the offer open in case Vick changes his mind, but in the meantime he has decided to continue fighting for the cause.

Despite his heart condition, Shell stepped into the ring one more time to raise money and awareness. His story was chronicled by film maker Douglas Schulze in a pay-per-view film called (appropriately) The Dog Fighter.

dog fighter 3

Every three months new shelters and rescues will be selected to receive a generous portion of the revenue generated from the film’s release.

You can watch the film for $5 by clicking this link – and in my opinion it is $5 that is extremely well-spent.

You can watch the trailer of the film here

Check out the facebook page too

Gordon’s passion and dedication has quickly made his name synonymous with dog advocacy. I first heard about the project a few months ago on facebook – and have followed it very closely. The support continues to grow, it is truly inspiring.

Now, I am proud to bring you this interview with the man himself…Gordon “Shotgun” Shell – dog’s best friend.

dog fighter 2

Tim Baker – Can you give us a brief history of your fighting career?

Gordon Shell – I started in formal martial arts (isshynru) in 1992, I fought in weekend tournaments and began fighting in no holds barred fights around 1995 (this was the early days before the UFC). My cage fight record since that time is 13-1 with my one loss coming at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2010 for the IFL

TB – When did you first become interested in the dog fighting problem? What brought it to your attention?

GS – I have always been an advocate and have done on and off volunteer work with different groups since the mid 90’s when I adopted my first dog, Samantha (German Shepard). The Dog Fighting portion really caught my attention with the Vick story and I have wanted to make a difference since the story broke.

TB – You made quite an impact with your “Fight Me Mike Vick” campaign…did you ever get a reply from Vick or his representatives?

GS – My initial invite to him was thru emails to every manager, agent, PR person, Vick email etc. I received a Cease and Desist notice via a time delete email from someone that claimed to be his attorney. The email auto-deleted after I read it, I’m sure this was done so I would not run to the press with it. Earlier this year Vick’s agent was questioned by the Huffington post about my offer. He replied with “Mike is concentrating on the Denver game and has no time to think about this fight.”  Vick lost to Denver 54-20 J. Vick is aware of who I am and my campaign, but is careful not to reply.

TB – How difficult was the decision to go into the ring one more time “for the dogs” even though the doctors advised against it?

GS – I really wasn’t as concerned about the doctors as I was my wife’s concerns. She supported me in my efforts, but feared the training I was going through. During the training for the last fight I tore the meniscus in both knees, sprained and fractured both ankles, broke my ribs, broke my nose, right orbital cracked, detached bicep, torn tendons in my toes on my right foot, torn oblique and a mini stroke.

TB – Would you consider more fights in the future?

GS – The only fight I will accept is Mike Vick for charity in a large venue. My heart is healthy and I am cleared to fight again. I would also accept DMX as he is also a known dog fighter.

TB –Now that the film has been made, what other plans do you have to keep this issue alive?

GS – I continue to make appearances across the country educating on animal abuse. I am going to appear beside Comedian Rebecca Corry for the Million Pibble March on the Whitehouse in May 2014. I am also signed to star in a film starting in 2014 called Conversations With A Pit Bull by LA director Foster Corder. I have been approached by 2 different studios regarding a reality show based on what I do and I continue to sell the Fight ME Mike Vick shirts to support my efforts. I have spoken, and will continue to speak, at schools across Michigan and possibly the US about dog fighting. I am one of the administrators on the FB page The Anti-Dogfighting Campaign as well as the Barking Army reaching close to 300,000 followers between the two. I will continue to keep my offer open to Vick until we get a formal response or acceptance.

TB – Whose idea was it to make “The Dog Fighter”?

GS – The Idea was a mutual one between Douglas Shulze and myself. I approached Doug to make a highlight film on me for my last fight. After hearing about all the other drama surrounding this fight (heart, dogs, wife, age) Doug said “There’s more drama in your story than all the Rocky movies put together. I want to make this a feature film.” I agreed and the project was born. The movie actually started with a script, written by Douglas, after one day with me Doug scrapped the script and just decided to film everything that was happening around me and the fight. The film is 100% accurate except for the part about my opponent’s support of dog fighting. Mike Guindon is a great guy and has rescue dogs, we asked him to take that stance to add to the excitement of the fight.

dog fighter

TB – Short of eradicating dog fighting altogether, what is the one thing you hope this film accomplishes?

GS – Awareness about the issue. Many people do not know, or believe, that dog fighting happens in their cities and states. We hope to change the Breed Specific Laws (BSL) so that real families can own these dogs and they are not exclusive to the bad guys as status symbols and/or fighters. I am also hoping to show the huge differences between MMA fights and Dog fights. A lot of ignorant people, including Senator Steven King, think they are the same and think dog fighting is okay.

TB – Were you surprised at how your campaign has grown?

GS – Yes and No. I knew that there were millions of animal advocates, and I knew they would support my efforts, but I am pleasantly surprised and sometimes baffled on the celebrity status I have been given. I have been recognized in airports, malls, restaurants, etc. and people want my picture and autograph. I have been invited to major events with A-list celebs, I have received twitter and FB messages from Chael Sonnen, Frank Trigg, Sylvester Stallone, I have spent phone time with Pat Millitech, been asked by Mark Coleman for a spot in the sequal and trained with Ken Shamrock in the film. I recently appeared on the Red Carpet with Moby, Rebecca Cory, Kaley Cuoco, Whitly Cummings, Bill Burr, Cheri Oterry, Moon Zappa. The Barbi Twins (Playboy, and animal advocates) and Ken Wahl (TV Star of Wiseguy) have both written me and continue to retweet about me. I love every minute of it and look forward to doing more in the entertainment industry with films and/or shows that will support my efforts.

TB – How can people donate to the campaign?

GS – Donations for my direct efforts can be sent via paypal to gshell661@yahoo.com, those funds are used for travel costs to educate, vet bills for dogs I work with or dogs I donate to via FB, equipment in my fight against dog fighting (such as bullet-proof vests), equipment and hopefully one day a transport vehicle for the dogs.

Donations for the film efforts can be made in care of:

The Dog Fighter Movie LLC

MPI Studios 2040 Crooks Rd., Ste. B

Troy, Michigan 48084

or www.thedogfightermovie.com

These funds will be used for our 2014 theater tour with the film and myself as well as a possible follow-up film or TV show.

TB – Thank you very much, not only for this interview, but for your efforts on behalf of dogs. Any final thoughts?

GS – Just hoping to get more followers at Facebook-Gordon Shell (personal page), The Dog Fighter Movie, Gordon Shotgun Shell (fan page), Gordon Shell Vs. Michael Vick Fight for the Dogs (Fan Page), Twitter @gordonshell and Instagram @gshell661.

Thanks to everyone for their amazing support, please watch the film on www.vimeo.com or soon to be released on Amazon and Itunes.

I can’t thank Gordon enough for taking time from his incredibly busy schedule to grant me this interview.

Please share, ReTweet or ReBlog this interview and help spread the word – and PLEASE watch the film.

“A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he’s on the level.”
                                                  ~Author Unknown

As always – thank you for reading

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Making Noise in the Backseat

In April, 2004 my brother-in-law and I drove from Rhode Island to Florida in a 22 hour non-stop marathon. In order to save us the trouble of thinking of stuff to talk about, we stopped at Cracker Barrel in RI and grabbed a couple of audio books to listen to. We made sure they were action-filled spy stories, hoping they’d keep us awake.

It worked…we stayed awake, listened to 2 good books and returned them to the Cracker Barrel in Florida when we arrived.

Prior to that, my only other experience with audio books was during high school English class when we had to read Shakespeare.

Our teacher was a young woman who, I believe, could still identify with our difficulty in understanding old-timey English. She mercifully allowed us to listen to a recorded version of the story (Romeo and Juliet) which made it much easier for us.

Believe it or not, I have a reason for telling you this stuff…

After six months, I am pleased to announce that my novel Backseat to Justice is finally available as an audio book.

BTJ cover

Backseat is the story of Florida Private Investigator Steve Salem who is hired to tail an unfaithful husband, only to have the husband get executed before his eyes.

Needless to say, he figures his fee is history—until the wife of the slain cheater hires him to solve the murder.

Things take off after that and just when Steve thinks he’s solved the case it takes the most bizarre twist imaginable.

That’s all I’m telling you – if you want to know what happens you’ll have to buy the book.

One more thing about this book – as with the print and e-book versions – half of all the profits are being donated to a Rhode Island based dog rescue organization called Golden Huggs Rescue.

So without further ado – here is the link

Download your copy now and please share this link with your audio-book-loving friends!

As always – Thank you for reading.

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Read a Book and Save a Dog

For those of you who don’t know, I am a “dog person”.

For as long as I can remember I’ve loved dogs – I don’t know why exactly, but I think it has something to do with their unique ability to love unconditionally, but that’s not important right now.

I’d like to tell you about a novel I wrote in the summer of 2011.

BTJ coverThe book is called Back Seat to Justice  and it actually began in 2009 as a reply to a writing prompt on a writer’s website I belong to. The assignment was to write the first chapter of a story given a few basic parameters. I wrote my chapter, it was reviewed and critiqued by the group and I then forgot about it.

Fast-forward to May of 2011, I had submitted Pump It Up to the editor for the first blood-letting and I was waiting for it to come back…in the meantime I found the unnamed chapter from the prompt and read it. I liked it, and I decided to continue with it.

So I posted chapter one on my other blog  and announced that I would post a new chapter each week until the story was complete (I figured if it was good enough for Charles Dickens it was good enough for me).

After four or five chapters I started getting feedback. People were digging it—and I was having fun meeting the challenge of writing a chapter a week.

By the time it was done I felt as though I had a pretty decent story (which came as a very pleasant surprise).

My intention was to leave the story on the blog as it was and let people enjoy it for free (I never said I was a good businessman).

So what does this have to do with my love of dogs, you ask?

I’m getting to that.

I have a good friend in Rhode Island who runs a non-profit dog rescue operation called Golden Huggs Recue. She posted a video of one of her rescue missions on facebook and it impressed the hell out of me to the point where I wanted to help.

Unable to just give her cash (I already told you about my business acumen – or lack thereof) I came up with an idea.

I took Back Seat to Justice off of my blog, (except for the first chapter) cleaned it up and released it as an e-book for the low price of $.99 and told my friend that I would donate half of all the money I get from sales to Golden Huggs.

So far I’ve given her a little money, but not nearly as much as I would like to, so I’ve decided to do two things in hopes of stirring the pot a bit…

First, I’m writing this blog-post which will hopefully drum up a few new readers (I may even throw a picture of some adorable puppies in just to increase the appeal).

Can I get an “Awwwww”?

Second, I released Back Seat as a paperback with a very attractive price ($10.69) and give half the proceeds of that to GHR as well.

So – if you love dogs, or if you just enjoy a good old-fashioned crime/action/suspense/mystery story with some interesting twists and a few laughs thrown in, please consider buying Back Seat to Justice and helping Golden Huggs continue their wonderful work.

Back Seat to Justice is available in at the following locations:

Kindle  – click here

All other forms of ebook including PDF for reading on your computer click here

The paperback is available here.

So that’s that.

Thank you for reading

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