The Bloody and Cruel World of Dogfighting
Thu, September 29, 2022

The Bloody and Cruel World of Dogfighting

Dog fighting is a type of blood sport involving two or more game dogs against one another in a ring or a pit for the entertainment of the dogmen / Photo Credit: Alexandra Giese via 123rf


In 2007, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was convicted on federal charges related to dogfighting, according to non-profit organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Because of this, the bloody and cruel sport was thrust into the spotlight. Subsequent investigations revealed how dogs were thrown in the arena and forced to fight each other to the death. Spectators cheered and gambled on who would be the “winner” of the match. 

The dogs found on Vick’s property were penned and chained to buried car axles. It was also discovered that generally, when the dogs served no further purpose to the organizers because they were maimed or too weak to fight, they were electrocuted, beaten, hanged, shot, drowned, or slammed against the ground. “Vick’s case is just one among many,” stated the authorities. It is said that tens of thousands of individuals are involved in professional dogfighting. 

Additionally, many more participating in informal dogfights or “streetfighting.” Thankfully, all 50 states of the US consider taking part in dogfighting as a felony. 


Why People Participate in Dogfighting

There are many reasons why individuals are drawn to dogfighting, said ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing animal cruelty. One of them is greed. Major dogfight raids have seized more than $500,000. Insiders said $20,000 to $30,000 is not an unusual amount to change hands in one match. Furthermore, the sale of pups from promising bloodlines and stud fees are enough to amass thousands of dollars. 

For some people, they see dogfighting “as an extension of themselves [with the dogs] to fight their battles for them.” They also perceive it as a way to brag about their dog’s strengths and prowess. When their dog loses, the owner not only loses money but their status in the community as well. This can lead to brutal action against the animal. There are also those who simply enjoy the brutality of dogfighting out of sheer sadism. 


Some people are engaged to dogfights because they wanted to see how far could their dog fight for them / Photo Credit: Anake Seenadee via 123rf


Dogs Are Forced to Fight and then Left to Die

“Pit bulls” such as American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers, and American bulldogs are commonly bred for fighting. They are usually kept penned and chained with heavy logging chains. Many dogs are taunted and starved to trigger extreme survival instincts and to encourage aggression. 

Some dogfighters train their animals by forcing them to run on a treadmill or to tread water in pools while a caged animal is dangled in front of them. Many of these dogs are injected with steroids, their teeth sharpened and ears cut off to prevent other dogs from latching onto them. Owners also add roach poison to their food to make their fur taste bad. 

Dogs who win are forced to fight again and again and are made into studs bred to generate profit. One successful fighter raked in $100,000 in stud fees in one year. Female dogs are tied to rape stands to prevent them from resisting while the males impregnate them. Dogs who lost or who do not participate in fights function as “bait” animals.


After a fight, dogs who lost or who do not participate in fights function as “bait” animals / Photo Credit: Aliaksandr Bukatsich via 123rf


What Happens In Dogfights

Fights can take place anytime and at any location. There may be impromptu fights in a back alley or a carefully orchestrated enterprise in a location meant for dogfighting. Fights occur in a 14-by-20-foot pit, with the sides made of chain link, plywood, and hay bales. The flooring may be dirt, carpet, sawdust, or wood. 

In organized dogfights, the dogs will be weighed to ensure they’re of the same weight. Handlers often examine or wash a dog to remove any toxic substances in the fur. At the start of the fight, the dogs are released and they meet in the middle of the ring, wrestling and grabbing each other to inflict damage. Fights can last from minutes to several hours. Both dogs may suffer from lacerations, puncture wounds, blood loss, broken bones, and crushing injuries. Many dogs succumbed to their wounds later on. 

Losing dogs are often killed, discarded, or left with their injuries untreated. If it is seen as an embarrassment to the owner’s reputation or status, the dog is brutally executed as a form of entertainment.


Dogfighting should never be tolerated for it is a display of animal cruelty, which is against the law / Photo Credit: artman1 via 123rf


Dogfighting:  The Tip of a Criminal Iceberg

Dogfighting is often interconnected with other crimes such as drug activities, illegal gambling, and murder. For instance, three intruders broke into a Texas home and bound the wife and children of a prominent pit-bull breeder, who was killed for the $100,000 he won at a fight. A detective told New York-based American newspaper New York Daily News, “You can get more drugs and guns off the street by breaking up dog rings than you would breaking up drug rings,” as cited by PETA. 

An Ohio sheriff added that they’ve found drugs for every dogfight search warrant they’ve conducted. Sometimes, children are present in dogfights, where they are exposed to extreme brutality, drugs, illegal gambling, and guns associated with these cruel events.  
Dogfighting should never be tolerated. It is the most vicious form of animal cruelty. Contact local authorities if you think there are cases of dogfighting in your area.