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Firsthand Report from Massive Dog Fighting Bust

Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 3:00pm
When this little puppy was found, he wore a heavy chain typical of dog fighting victims.

Last week, we told you about our massive dog fighting bust that spanned multiple states and resulted in the removal of 367 dogs and puppies. We gave you an inside look with our on-the-scene video, and now we have a first-person account from the rescue. Below is a guest blog by Tim Rickey, Vice President of the ASPCA’s Field Investigations & Response Team, reflecting on what he found during the raid and the terrible fate of dog fighting victims.

When I first walked on the property, I stared across the yard and saw more than 100 dogs, most of them tied to heavy log chains, anchored to dilapidated dog houses. The dogs ranged from old to young, living on a worn dirt ring that likely had seen generations of dogs come and go to a sad fate.

Most were chained nose-to-nose to their neighbors to ensure continuous arousal.

I first thought of what a grim fate many of these dogs would have met without our intervention that day. But as I looked at a young, weeks-old puppy with one glance, and an aging, 10-year-old senior with another, my thoughts quickly turned to the long, lonely and painful journey of a fighting dog’s life.

This cycle begins with being chained at such an early age with little to no positive human or animal interaction. The burden continues with heavy chains, often with additional weights, to drag around their entire lives. The constant noise, arousal and anxiousness push them towards aggression to or from their yard mates. If they don't respond, their life may end quickly, but if they do, they have sealed their fate of a long, torturous life.

Their only reprieve from the chain is death or brief release to be tested against another dog, eventually going back to the chain with little attention to their wounds. What follows is weeks of intense training and significant human interaction with the person who will commit the ultimate betrayal and force them into a barbaric battle for entertainment and profit. If they survive, they go back again to the chain: A vicious cycle that could go on for years until these dogs finally have no value or fight left in them and are discarded.

Our responders are still on the ground, so please stay tuned to aspcarescue.org for more news to come. Follow the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #367rescue. 

If now is a good time for you to give, please consider making a gift to the ASPCA. Thank you for helping us support cruelty victims nationwide.

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Leah

Thank God for those who rescued these, sweet, adorable, & innocent dogs & puppies! This story made me want to cry because I cannot understand why there are evil, horrible, & worthless people out there who do that! These people deserve a very, very severe type of punishment & should obviously never be around animals again!

Ann Marie

The problem in most states seems to be not enough folks out there to help. I live in Gainesville, Fl; and we have no ASPCA here; and I feel the local animal folks don't do enough.

peggy

it only takes money and time...you are someone, go volunteer and help if you think others are not doing enough....it is everyone's responsibility not just the "LOCAL ANIMAL FOLKS"...go help them

Lucy

Ain't that the truth? If you can't bear the hands-on work of the actual rescue, be the one who reports it, takes pictures of the dead dog (losers) carcasses that get dumped near your house for court. Maybe volunteer at the local pound or rescue society to feed or bathe their animals so they can get out and do the hard work. I live in a very poor county with only ONE animal control officer, and no rescue societies. He has to find, document, appear in court, get harassment for handling or not handling it the way some citizen thinks he should, and if he's lucky, he might get custody of the animal before it's dead. As for breaking up pitbull fighting rings, he has no help, no back-up. Don't get me going, one of my closest friends worked for a pound for years, and people did not have a clue what that woman saw or went through on a daily basis. Don't criticize. Get off your butt and direct that anger at the abusers, not the overworked people who are already rescuring and probably have a full "Ark."

Mary

WELL SAID! Thank you Lucy!

CoCo

Lucy, truer words have never been spoken. Well said indeed....

Laila

I live in Indiana and we don't have ASPCA here, and yes, I don't think that local organizations do or can do much to save these animals, but as you stated, we all need to get involved by reporting the abuse. My job takes me through many areas in Northwest Indiana and when I see what appears to be abuse/neglect, I make sure I report it to the authorities, and when it appears they can't handle it, for whatever reason, I have stepped in by knocking on the door and talking to the owner. I always ride back to check on the animals. Yes, this is dangerous, but to walk away without doing something, is unacceptable. If I am going to get hurt or killed, let it be because I did everything I could to save an animals life.

Laila

I live in Indiana and we don't have ASPCA here, and yes, I don't think that local organizations do or can do much to save these animals, but as you stated, we all need to get involved by reporting the abuse. My job takes me through many areas in Northwest Indiana and when I see what appears to be abuse/neglect, I make sure I report it to the authorities, and when it appears they can't handle it, for whatever reason, I have stepped in by knocking on the door and talking to the owner. I always ride back to check on the animals. Yes, this is dangerous, but to walk away without doing something, is unacceptable. If I am going to get hurt or killed, let it be because I did everything I could to save an animals life.

Marilyn Suarez

Laila You are so brave and a hands on person BE VERY CAREFUL YOU NEED A PARTNER GOOD LUCK

MH

The ASPCA is a national organization. Google "SPCA Indiana" and you will find lots of local shelters and rescues, in a number of counties.

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