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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Actually, if the punishment fit the crime, these pieces of shit would think twice about doing these tortuous and horrific acts of animal abuse... I'm all for it. Come on legislature, let's do something better..... don't you understand that if these people do this to animals, they do it to each other.... stop this discusting behavior from the ground up.


We need the death penalty for those involved in dogfighting.


Thank you ASPCA & all others who have helped rescue all of these dogs.... your all heroes! We, in Colorado need a 'No Permanent Restraints' law to deter this chained for life treatment. I witness perm. chained (heavy) pitbulls everyday next door.... from a few months old to old (3 & 10 yrs now). Horrible!! They need help


Severe punishment to those who committed these atrocities - life on a chain would be great! I am a very peaceful person but hearing these stories makes me very sad and angry at the same time! God bless those who dedicate their lives to stop this from happening.


WARNING! Under the 2013 USDA Farm Bill now before Congress, there is an amendment added by Congressman Steven KING that would basically take away animal rights - all animals: puppy mills can do as they wish, dog/cock fighting continues, farm animals in small cages---- read for your self : CONTACT your Congressional Representative NOW and tell them to remove the King Amendment!


This very sad situation brings tears to my eyes. I can't imagine neglecting an innocent animal let alone doing so for profit. Their captors should be so very ashamed of themselves, but obviously they have no conscience. Tragic!!!


It boggles the mind that there is such extreme EVIL in this world, doesn't it???

Thank you for all you do, ASPCA!!


I thank God for people like you who dedicate their lives to animal cruelty. I also commend all the supporters who donate money to hep these helpless animals. I cried when I read this story. I had no idea how bad their lives are from such a young age. I despise the "animals" that commit these hideous crimes. I hope and pray that the laws will change so these people get what they deserve,a life of torture and hell. I know this is not very christian of me, but I do believe in the saying an eye for an eye. Thank you for letting me vent.


Those involved in the dog fighting are just disgusting. Hard to imagine why the rest of society tolerates interacting with them at all.


People who do this should have the SAME thing done to them. Not in a jail, but out in the open IN ALL kinds of weather. No food and perhaps dirty water TO DRINK!!