For most individuals, Dogfighting is a distant past relic or a sick phenomenon that came to a stop when Michael Vick was brought to justice more than a decade ago. Many of us also may think that the practice can only be done by malicious people hidden in the dark corners of our society. Sadly, this is not the truth. In the latest poll released by ASPCA, we found many misconceptions about the prevalence of dog fighting, people committing these crimes, and where they happen. The report also indicates there is a great misunderstanding regarding the signs of dogfighting, and even a general unwillingness to report dogfighting suspects.
It’s the sad reality that thousands of animals are being victimized and tortured every year. In this article, we are going to explain what dogfighting is all about and offer a solution in how to finally eradicate this vice.
The Truth about Dogfighting
In the poll, fifty-seven percent of the respondent were convinced that dogfighting practices occur in their community. However, regardless of how horrifying this might sound, Dog fighting happens in more places that most of us tend to think.
The ASPCA team has spent years developing and overseeing regulation on animal welfare, they are horrified by stories of animal abuse. These cases involve incidents where the animals are viciously attacked, electrocuted, beaten, and even drowned. The cruel practices of using breeding stands and dog baiting, while shocking and horrific, generally go unnoticed by the communities in which they take place.
What are Fighting Dogs?
Fighting dogs are not any different from a regular dog. The only disparity between them is that fighting dogs are raised in complete isolation. They spend most of their lives in heavy short chains. To boost their muscle strength, these dogs are injected with anabolic steroids. Steroids are also utilized to encourage aggressive behavior. Dogfights are organized as a way of gambling. Unfortunately, during these fights, these dogs often suffer from fatal injuries like puncture wounds and blood loss. The losing dogs are often brutally executed while others succumb to their injuries.
A National Problem
Unlike what many people might think, dogfights can happen anywhere ranging from residential basements to rural farms. To understand the magnitude of this problem, the ASPCA has assisted in over 200 dog-fighting cases in over 23 states. A total of over five thousand dogs have been involved in these cases. More than four hundred dogs were rescued last year from dog fighting across twelve states.
These staggering numbers are only taken from the cases in which these animals were fortunate enough to get our help. However, we estimate that individuals who fight dogs are in the tens of thousands, and hundreds of dogs are involved. Besides gambling, dog fighting is also connected to illegal firearm sales, drugs, and other crimes
Ironically, dog fighters do not fall into their respective stereotypes. Rather, they are individuals that we interact with all the time including nurses, teachers, lawyers, football coaches, judges, farmers, and technicians spanning all social economic and racial lines. This means that it’s hard to pinpoint a dogfighter. However, these individuals have a shared affinity for sadism and greed.
Recognizing and Responding to Dogfighting
According to the ASPCA polls, less than a third of the respondents were confident that they would recognize dog-fighting signs. It is important to arm yourself with this knowledge so you can know what to keep an eye out for. Dogs involved in these fights tend to have multiple scares on their faces, their ears or lips may be completely ripped off. These dogs tend to have heavy chains, are found tethered to doghouses or wheel axles, and are very dirty from being left outside and abused. Some of the other sighs include dogs that are chained up in secluded areas or dogs chained inches apart from each other.
Whenever you suspect a dogfighting case, what should you do? Would you contact a local animal control agency, post about the incident online, or just let it go? In the ASPCA study, only fifty percent of the respondent knew what to do: call the police. More than twenty percent of the respondents were not sure of what they needed to do. Anti-cruelty laws have been set in place and it the job of the police to enforce them. You can always make the call anonymously.
What You Should Do
Even a person who has never owned a pet dog knows that dog fighting is an ultimate betrayal. Dogs are man’s best friend, and twisting their love and loyalty to make a profit out of their misery is inhumane.
These dogs not only need rescuing but also deserve our protection. This means that you should prevent dogfights before they can even start. April 8 is usually the National Dog fighting Awareness day. This day is dedicated to educate people and counteract the misperceptions surrounding the practice of dogfighting while promoting lifesaving awareness. We also encourage people to report to the police. Besides saving the lives of our furry friends, this these will also reinforce compassion for our loyal pets.
Dog fighting is legally a crime in all states. However, because of the large numbers of people participating in this activity, it will take those who have the compassion to speak out and work proactively towards the goal of breaking these chains for good. Even if you are personally unaware of dog fighting in your area, you should still remain vigilant and report anyone you suspect. It doesn’t matter whether you see them online or in your neighborhood, it’s our duty to ensure that our animals are safe.