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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I want these people who chain these poor innocent animals to be put in prison for a long time. In my world I would chain them up myself and do what they do starve them beat them and let them rot by theme selves. Since our society does not believe in an eye for an eye than I believe this will continue to happen. So we need to wake the lawmakers up and make more rigid laws.


When you attack others regarding their comments, you are not helping the animals or the people who care for and about them. You are probably also causing potential donors and/or helpers to stop supporting the very cause that they care so much about because of negative, thoughtless, and insensitive remarks. Unless you are directly aware that a commenter is doing nothing, it is not beneficial to assume this. Think before you comment and become a true agent of change for the positive! Let's try to be more aware that this is a fight to help animals in truly horrible conditions and situations, not a forum to find fault or insult fellow animal lovers. Thank you.


I thank all the wonderful folks for rescuing these precious dogs and puppies. The story was tearful yet happy when I heard how many lives were saved. As for the horrible people involved I hope they are all prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I would like to chain them up and make them stay in a small area with no adequate food or shelter.

kelly restivo

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Our mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” While there are SPCAs and humane societies all over the country, the ASPCA is not directly affiliated with them. However, the ASPCA works nationally to rescue animals from abuse, pass humane laws and share resources with many shelters across the country.


To bad they will kill the entire lot of dogs. That's what the ASPCA does, as well as the HSUS.


As I read Tim Rickey's comments and looked at the pictures, I sobbed. Man's capacity for cruelty seems to know no bounds. As much as I cry for the extreme mistreatment of these lovely animals, I cry for humanity. Cruelty starts early with some. Starting in grade school as bullying and then just continues. But, I still believe there are more kind and loving people in this world and eventually we will overcome this cruel "sport". However, the punishment has to be severe and has to include spectators. God bless the heroes that save these poor creatures from further torture!


When I read about animal abuse, I want to know that the perps have been arrested and dealt with. I'm always pleased that abused animals get the rescues and care they need (when they get it), but I'm not into victimhood. I'm into incapacitating the perps. Please tell us that you have arrested the organizers of the dog fighting ring and that they're all on their way to a long stay in their local penitentiary. Why do you not include this information in your stories?

Janie Gutierrez

My HEART just Broke. Inhumane acts from inhumane people continues to infest our world, the world that should be safe for every human and humane being. It is this people that have no conscious, no hearts, hellish blood filled arteries, no spirit. Dark minds-people like this should not be allowed to exist in this world. They should too be chained and forced to live in the same environments that they put these our friends to live in. I will kiss the ground when our justice system creates laws to have this heinous beings be succumbed to the same torture they put our beloved friends to see how they feel. Presently a 2 years of jail is nothing to what they deserve. This is no JUSTICE! And if they asked me, I would be more than happy to do it for them. Let's see those bastards suffer. It should be an eye-for-an-eye. This is my statement!

George Lecker

I applaud the work you are doing in combating dog abuse and the subsequent rehabilitation. However, what baffles me is that the ASPCA is not much more vocal about changing the laws so that such abuses are felony charges with a minimum manditory sentence of 5 - 10 years and to also charge those in attendance, for they are accomplices in the abuse.


God bless all of you with answering to your most desired needs and keep you safe for the work that you do.
I will always support you.
How can this horror exist in our world? How can folks stand by and do nothing.
Thank you for giving me hope that there is still goodness; at least in some small way.
Thank you from all the beautiful babies that you saved.