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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Unfortunately, in many states the perpetrators get away with only a minimal sentence or a fine. They should be treated the same as if they were abusing human children.


OMG my heart and soul ache for these innocent animals who were born, but never asked for this Hell on earth for their lives. God Bless eveyone who helped saved these beautiful animals! You all are angels on this earth for the animals in need. Please continue to do all that you do, for without you we would never see the stories of all the animals saved from this kind of situation! I can only pray that justice will be served on the offenders and the punishment will be never ending!!!!!


A measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members. We are failing as a society


I really hope these bastards burn for eternity. Cruel soulless scumbags.


The description I just read breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes. These poor innocent babies...thank you to the ASPCA for saving these lives. I participate in rescue efforts, my home is full (and they all receive love) but I help where I can and donate regularly to organizations in my area because without these folks the voiceless babies would not have a chance. God Bless anyone that saves a life!


I'm so proud to be part of ASPCA as a donator and yes we need to do more for the animals, they can not defent themselves of ruin people, we have to help them. I'm going to get more involve on this cause. WE ARE THEIR VOICE!!!


If you left me alone with any of the people who did this I would tie them up with chains and beat them to death. Eye for an eye

Maria Zoske

I live in Milwaukee,wish we had an ASPCA here. We could use it. I wish our police dept had an animal cruelty unit. A Sgt there has tried and tried to get a specialty unit,to no avail. Hopefully some day. The animals deserve it.


Speaking of dog fights, we had this going on recently not far from where I live in Madison WI:
From what I can tell, these four pit bulls were not taken away from their owners. Can ASPCA intervene in any way here?

Kevin Welday

These people who do this to these animals should be burned at the stake. I volunteer to strike the match