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 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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rochelle suri

Thank you, ASPCA, for the work that you do!


Wow, it's hard to believe that a human would do this to an animal. One wonders what is becoming of our world that a small handful of wonderful people take such care of our animals, and others, just don't see the harm they do. The punishment should be, put them in a ring to fight each other, till the death, so they can feel what these poor poor animals must feel like. Disgusting how cruel humans are.


Thank God for these people who help the animals.As for the perople who fight these dogs. There is not a punishment harsh enough for you to suffer.You are the lowest form of human life and I hope you burn in hell.


Thank God for these people who help the animals.As for the perople who fight these dogs. There is not a punishment harsh enough for you to suffer.You are the lowest form of human life and I hope you burn in hell.


What possible enjoyment can anyone get from watching dogs fight and maybe kill each other. That is just cruel and the people who do this or watch it must be idiots. They should be treated the same way and see how they enjoy that.

Rita Battaglia

People involved in dog fighting have no hearts or souls, put them in jail for life make an example out of them. Dog fighting truly breaks my heart the torture and pain they go through and end up in death no dog should have to go through this.


I would like to see these awful people chained nose-to-nose for days on end, with their fate unknown, just like the dogs. People with the capacity to inflict such suffering on innocent animals could easily commit other crimes. I hope there is a way to end this despicable "sport" for good, with heavy penalties -- including hard labor -- given to those who commit these crimes. Bless the ASPCA and other rescue organizations for the work you do.


My pitbull came up missing back in April & a few people I know have lost their pitbull also. I was wondering if there is anyway to find out if they could be involved in this terrible dog fighting bust? My pitbull's name was Xena && she is microchipped. I called the Auburn Police Department and they told me there was nothing they could do until they had evidence of the dogs being stolen... I'm from Prattville, AL


Katie, it's a long shot but you might take a photo around to vets offices and/or the county pounds. Sometimes a dog will be picked up and if someone (who is not in the dog fighting profession) found her and takes your dog to a vet, the vet may remember the photo.


It is a horrible situation and our support to the ASCPA and other oganizations needs to be continued at the highest level. It does no good to lower ourselves to the level of these criminals by making statements that do not represent what the real work is all about, we need to flood our legislators with a constant barrage to get them to wake up to this carnage and pass the kind of laws that will hold people accountable to this horror. Our continued support of the ASCPA is more critical then ever, whether by donations, volunteering and badgering our congessman and senators to pay attention and do something about it.