― Marie Sarantakis
Dog fighting is a felony is all 50 states and the District of Columbia. So while criminals are viciously fighting animals to their death for profit, local and federal law enforcement , the ASPCA, and the Humane Society of the United States are fighting for justice. Currently, the ASPCA is working with Congress to enact legislation making it a federal crime to even attend any organized animal fighting event. Along with 367 pit bulls officials in the national raid were able to seize weapons, narcotics, drug paraphernalia and 500,000 dollars cash used for gambling . The sweep was the result of a four year multi-state investigation.
In March of this year the ASPCA assisted the FBI, The Missouri State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement in conducting a raid which covered several states and seized almost one hundred fighting dogs. These animals would have spent their entire existence from birth outside tethered with heavy chains, bred repeatedly, tortured, starved, beaten, and then forced to fight to their death. According to several reports on the day of the raid the dogs were enduring the freezing temperatures of a blizzard.
When you see evidence of dog fighting there is a 99% chance other illegal activity will be discovered. What can you look for in your own community as evidence of dog fighting? What do you do if you see it happening? What can you do if you know of or see a dog being chained or tethered and in distress.? Below is a list of common warning signs of dog fighting compiled from resources including the ASPCA, HSUS, law enforcement and various animal welfare organizations.
Are there an unusual or inordinate amount of the pit bull breed dog in your area?
Are the dogs kept isolated in one location, chained and un-socialized?
If you reside in an urban area are they confined to a basement or small area in the home?
Do you notice dogs with cuts and scars especially on their faces and legs?
Have you seen dog fighting equipment outdoors such as tires or "spring poles" hanging from the limbs of trees?
Have you seen exercise treadmills or "breaksticks" which are used to draw open the jaws of a dog in battle?
Do you notice a high volume of human traffic in one secluded location at odd hours?
Besides neighbors and concerned citizens many times a public works employee, utility worker or postal carrier will notice circumstances and behavior out of the ordinary.
Please, DON'T IGNORE animal cruelty. Human beings are the only voice they have. By reporting the animal cruelty you may be saving the life of an abused or neglected child or adult who is too afraid to speak out.
If you see an animal that appears to be neglected outside or one you suspect is being used in dog fighting contact your local humane society, animal control or law enforcement agency. Remember, we are their only voice.