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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Not just the owners but all the spectators should be jailed. That means we must push hard for state and federal law changes to arrest ANYONE found at a dog fight. Face it, it's all about the money. If no one showed up to bet on these dog fights, there would be no motivation for the owners to continue this horrible activity.


May God Bless the people who were involved in the rescue of these dog & puppies. I cannot believe humans would act this way...well yes I can too when I see the news everyday...nothing really surprises me anymore. I hope the money that was used in the betting and eveything else that went on goes to the dogs that were rescued and the shelters that have taken them in. I read in one paper that the people involved were pleading not guilty....REALLY!!! Maybe the people that were fighting these dogs why don't we chain them up outside with no food or water and make sure those chains around their necks are really heavy and big for them to carry around and see how it feels.


What evil scumbags. I am disgusted. I hope they reap what they sowed come judgement day, and jailtime or worse on earth.

Lori Yanna

These people are despicable. More funds need to be available to combat animal cruelty. The laws are still weak, making it difficult to put these people in jail in many cases. Pet owners pay billions of dollars taking care of their animals, dumping millions and millions of tax dollars into the economy, yet the government returns nothing to the animal welfare organizations. There should be Federal and State money available to enforce these laws and support abused animals. Why are we letting our government get away with not providing what is needed when they receive so much?


Being involved in a rescue group I have seen some horrible sites on dogs, but what really makes me irate is the fact that most people aren't aware of the fact that mega bucks pass hands to the local officials to look the other way where puppy mills and dog fighting exists. So as long as pockets are being lined, why ruin things by shutting the operations down. I say, put those people into the conditions that our 4 legged friends(who cannot speak for themselves) have to endure. We get unconditional love from them, they ask nothing more then to be treated with kindness and love, and in return those who have respect for themselves or others, take it upon themselves to treat a living thing with nothing but cruelty. It is about time that the powers that be step up to the plate, instead of turning their heads, and closing their eyes, and do the right thing for all of our beloved animals. A slap on the wrist to those who create these atrocities is not going to do a thing. Give them what they deserve, a long time behind bars, perhaps even in solitary confinement, with none of the bells and whistles as given in many prisons.

renee jeanine ragno

Like Suzanne you need to run for office in your area!


Those charged should be named publicly - Id like to know what Barbarians were doing this and from what city\state - so I wont let them watch my dogs or kids for that matter.

Karen LaGUire

I am a member of Safe Haven Rescue and adoption, Inc in northwest Indiana and we do all we can for the furbabies - I am also a monthly contributing member of ASPCA and give to HSUS - I am thankful you are out there to fight for them and save as many as oyu can - GOd bless you


giving to shelters and ASPCA is great, lobbyists like HSUS don't give much money or support to actual shelters.