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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Let me tell you, these effed up ******** should die and rot in hell, every time I read these horrific stories about dog fighting, I want to kill these low life discusting people, they make me sick!!! I would love love love to tie these ******* to a heavy chain and make them suffer like they do to these innocent beautiful animals who just want to be loved by someone. This is terrible and we need more people like the ASPCA in the world to save these poor little animals. believe me if I had it my way these people would die and I would love to watch them suffer! NO TOLERANCE FOR THIS ****. It would make me soooo happy to see these people who do this to animals and have it done right back at them and than to die in the end- that's my wish for these low lifes!

renee jeanine ragno

People are responsible for this the overbreeding, etc. and people MUSTstop it. For most it does mean severe consquences as they know its cruel, evil and wrong; shows a lack of morals, humanity and they're cowards. Let those who participate this in any way from breeder to better suit up, jump in the pit and go at each other. See how long that lasts. Anyone who does this ...breeder, owner should be done away with. I'd say the same for bettors, but.....let them pay up money wise and community service wise by working with the very animals they hurt.

renee jeanine ragno

Happy to see how many are horrified by this and want to take action that will stop this. Good to be in quality company!


Thank you for your work in giving these dogs the life they deserve.


they should tie up these stupid people to chains in the hot and cold weather and show them what it is like Thank you to the great people at the ASPCA for saving these wonderful dogs.


I am sick to death that we do not have more laws in place to punish those who abuse animals. Can anyone explain to me why we don't have better laws? I used to volunteer at an animal shelter and the number of abused and neglected animals is staggering. Everyone should have to work at a shelter, if only for a brief period of time. Only then can you really get an idea of what animals suffer through.

Houston H. Stokes

I get sick seeing what terrible people do to helpless animals. Saving these dogs so they can get joy in their lives is a great service. We are with you!


How do these tips come in and what task forces are responsible for this? First - Great Job!!! Here in New Mexico I believe this goes on daily and I wish there could be a sweeping effort to totally stop it. I just had to put down my 14 year old dog due to kidney failure and cancer. We cry over our friends and these people treat them with such cruelty. Again, great job for all the animal welfare activities that you all do and Thank You!!!

Jane Salta

That little dog looked so hopeless with those heavy chains around his neck, but when I saw him with that ball and in the arms of an ASPCA person, I was so happy that now he is safe. How many more are out there chained, and made to fight or in puppymills, forced to breed and abused? This cycle must stop! These people must serve long jail terms. The mentality of abusing animals for greed is disgusting!


I know it has been said 10,000 times or more, the punishment NEVER fits the crime when it comes to any animal cruelty. As a community or as one we can do a lot, but we need the law to help us. Until we make it where the "fights" are not "cost effective" they will continue. They do not care about the animals, it is the money made on everything from the wagers, the breeding, buying and selling of the dogs or roosters and even the person who gets paid so the fights can happen on their property. Some of these operations even run their own genetic labs. That alone shows the amount of money that keeps this activity thriving. I compare these people to the drug cartels of Mexico and south America.
We all have to find a way to make it so they cannot make a profit. I believe that is the only way to stop it.