Dog Fighting Awareness
I used this photo because clearly these two cuties are playing!
Dog fighting awareness day was yesterday, please excuse me, I was stung by a wasp and the benadryl insured that I would be passed out for most of my productive hours yesterday!
Dog fighting, I’d like to think it didn’t really happen.
I’d like to think that it only exists in big cities and urban areas, and that the barbarians are too busy selling drugs and breaking the law to find much time to fight their dogs.
But the truth is, it happens all of the time, in all places and sometimes by children.
I have seen young teenagers who think getting their dogs together and fighting is a great way to spend their time.
All The Stories
And, unfortunately all the stories are true.
Or most of them are true.
I had the misfortune of meeting a dog fighter.
Or some might say the good fortune, because until you can truly educate yourself about something you don’t even know the battle you are fighting. And, in that way I am grateful for the education I received.
It wasn’t hard to know he fought dogs (at some point) because he had a huge tattoo of the glories from his fighting days on his arm.
Of course he says he doesn’t fight them anymore, but I guess I don’t believe someone who admittedly fought or abused animals.
But, I did want to know some things about that world so I could educate myself and so I could help educate my clients.
Thankfully, since it was all off record, he was very honest about what happens in that world.
Craigslist Horror Stories
One of the first things I needed to know was, do people actually use pets advertised “free to a good home” in dog fighting rings, or as bait dogs.
Actually he laughed at me.
Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t laugh at me because it is ridiculous that I asked, he laughed because it does actually happen.
He explained to me that these “house dogs” are used to bring up a young fighting dog, and give it something that is easy to attack and kill.
He also said that if a tough fighting dog loses, but survives a fight (most never get medical help of course) then they often use one of these house dogs or former pet dogs as a way for the fighting dog to win an easy fight and raise his confidence.
Mostly real fighting dogs fight other fighting dogs, because people don’t think there is sport unless both are in it to win it.
I was assured that not everyone does this, but it does happen.
And, I can tell you that ANY dog would rather be humanely euthanized than to have it’s life taken by the attacks from another dog.
Plus many of these dogs languish and suffer in ditches and fields awaiting death after a fight.
Not all of them are culled (this is a kinder word used in the dog fighting world that means killed) or euthanized.
So if you have ever considered a “free to good home” post, please don’t. Even if a small amount of money is exchanged it is still less likely that the people who fight dogs will pay anything.
They Look Like Normal People
Other than the one that I met that had a huge tattoo that labeled him a dog fighter, the rest blend into society. He pointed out several other people (who were involved in a dog sport that day) who I never would have suspected of dog fighting.
Just like a serial killer, you can’t tell by looking at someone what their intentions are.
Many have normal “pet dogs” like Golden Retrievers etc. but you would never see them out with a fighting breed.
Most Don’t Keep Their Dogs at Home
Most of them keep their dogs in kennels somewhere out of the way.
Most of them have maybe one dog at home, or a pet dog and keep their fighting dogs off of their property.
Like growing Marijuana on your property puts you at more risk, so does keeping a kennel full of scarred fighting dogs.
And, most of these people have to have a large supply of dogs.
Dogs get hurt and killed each time they fight, so the odds of losing a lot of dogs are high.
In order to fuel their barbaric hobby, they must have access to several dogs.
And, yes they do adopt fighting breeds from shelters and also use them as bait dogs or teach them to fight.
If you know or suspect someone contact your local police department.
They Take it Very Seriously
Supposedly there is big money in fighting dogs.
We would like to think there is nothing but disease and misfortune for these people (at least I would) but they can make thousands of dollars in one night.
And, in some ways their dogs get more attention and training than the average pet.
They spend hours conditioning their dogs, building muscle, and working on speed.
Don’t ever confront someone you think is fighting, because like anything else, if thousands of dollars of their money is threatened they will likely do damage to you as well. Always contact authorities.
The Fighting Dogs are Ruined
It is a common myth that all dogs seized by dog fighters are ruined.
Many raids have gone down, and almost always the dogs are euthanized.
Most shelters, staff and professionals don’t want the liability that the dog they just adopted will bite another animal or a person so they are mass euthanized, usually after the civil case is over.
I knew of one shelter that even euthanized puppies born to a mother in the shelter, just because the mother had been involved in the “ring”.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Sure, there are some dogs that need to be humanely euthanized.
They might be seriously injured (I saw one dog at a shelter once with a missing eye and ear) and euthanasia might be the kindest thing.
Some might have serious aggression issues that make them unsafe to rehome.
But some, some are just plain good dogs!
I think the dogs fought by Michael Vick that were rescued and rehomed have taught us all that not all of them are lost causes.
Some get along great with other animals.
We have a very large percentage of Pit Bulls in our Doggy Day Care that play great with everyone.
And, many are wonderful with people.
I am not a rescue person that believes in saving every dog.
I believe that the aggressive dogs should be euthanized and the adoptable dogs should be rehomed.
And, I have seen many of these dogs go on to lead normal lives in families.
- So educate yourself.
- Don’t give your dog away.
- And, don’t judge a book by its cover your neighbor could be fighting dogs.
- And, that Pit Bull you just scooted away from might be the kindest dog you will ever meet.
Judge a dog by his behavior, don’t judge him by the way he looks.
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.