Dog fighting. A blood sport in which two dogs are contained and forced to fight, often to the death, as a mean of entertainment for viewers. Not only are they sadistic and inhumane, these brutal fights result in serious wounds to both animals. Owners of the dogs, called dogfighters or dogmen, may place high bets on their competitor and will regularly execute the losing dog using savage methods such as drowning, shooting, or burning. Just think: these are the dogs you see gazing wide-eyed through the kennel bars at the shelter. These are the same animals that smother you in loving licks when you come home from school. The only difference is that they were not lucky enough to be raised by a caring family such as yours.
The practice of dogfighting, while classified as a felony, is still a common underground sport. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [ASPCA] estimates that tens of thousands of US residents are illegally involved in dogfighting. Taken as only puppies, dogs are raised under brutal conditions to be best equipped to fight.
Through their lives, fighting dogs are isolated from the company of humans or other dogs. They live in solitude, often spending cold nights and sweltering days chained to a fence outside. Daily injections of drugs boost their muscle mass while slowly destroying their sanity.
Owners put the dogs through physically demanding tasks to build up stamina– these dogs do not get pats on the head for catching a frisbee. Rather, they commonly receive beatings from their owners, and occasionally are shot out of rage. Dogs’ tails and ears are clipped by the dogmen themselves, who show little regard for the safety and comfort of the dog while performing the procedure.
Dogfighting may be happening where you least expect it. In 2010, fifteen dogs raised for fighting were discovered and rescued in the Corvallis area. Three additional dogs were found dead in the same residence. The surviving dogs were malnourished and scarred from fights. The dogs were taken in by Heartland Humane Society and treated for their wounds. Not all fighting dogs are this fortunate. However, with the eyes and ears of residents like you on the lookout, we can stop the practice of dogfighting. If you suspect dogfighting is taking place, be on the lookout for common signs, including: multiple dogs (especially pitbulls) being kept on heavy chains, dogs with scarring and bruises, leashes or chains attached to treadmills, or other fighting/training devices. For a complete list of how to recognize a fighting residence, take a look at the Humane Society’s website: goo.gl/uJuV5E.