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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Ann Marie

God Bless you for your efforts and your work!


I still cry when I think about these babies, and all the others that have been rescued, but what about the ones we know nothing about...yet!! I would love to take them in and give them what they deserve...unconditional love!

liliana castillo



We have ASPCA here in upstate NY, but I am angered by the light/non-existent sentences given to those who abuse. An abuser here nailed 4 puppies to the railroad track. He cut a foot off one of them-one didn't live. They caught him, put him on trial, convicted him. Now he's out and living with his mother who has dogs. He was supposed to never be near dogs again. He is banned from owning dogs. The judge who sentenced him knows he is living with dogs and does nothing. Where does he think this piece of crap learned how to abuse dogs in the first place? Bet Mommy lets him torture, abuse and kill her dogs.

Tina J.

God Bless the ASPCA for all of it's efforts in rescuing this poor animals from this cruel and inhumane treatment. We need to keep supporting this wonderful organization as well as our local chapters in our respective locations. These animals continue to need our support and assistance in ensuring thier lives are happy, safe and loving. We need to do all we can to SPEAK OUT & STAND UP against this cruel behavior that continues throughout this country. We need to continue to contact your local govt representatives and insist on having the laws changed to ensure sentencing and punishment for those involved with these unforgivable actions towards these poor, helpless animals is so severe it will help deter and hopefully eliminate these abusive acts against animals. my opinion, - Persons found guilty of involvement should be forced to where chains weighing ten times thier body weight and be made to walk around in the hot sun with out food and water to see how long they last! (Oh, right in this country we can't do that because a human (as dispicable as they can be) has rights!!) What about the animals- THEY HAVE RIGHTS TOO!

rico mancini

I spent several years rescuing cats - they seem to be such a throw-away species. It was a no-kill rescue so I learned to rescue, foster and nurse. Then I moved on to volunteer at a city shelter and saw daily, the wreck humans make of another species - and one we created for our selves. Then one evening I heard a dog cry. I followed the sound and when morning came I looked in the fence slats and saw a American Staffordshire Terrier - a beauty with red nose and green eyes. A breed that, with proper abuse, neglect, crappy food and dirty water, will be made into a "pit bull". And how I wish that people really understood that process which is applicable to any big dog. Two court dates and four months later, which the 'owner' thought was too much trouble, I got the dog. How shall I say this - a great dog, a loving couch potato. Quick to learn, ready to play, good with kids. I eventually adopted it out because I wanted it out of my neighborhood, which was a bad place for dogs. It went to a family with other dogs, a lot of land and a good grasp of dog needs. When the 'owner' finally moved away, I went back to the fence and saw, way to the back of the property, a length of rusty chain, each link thick around as two of my fingers. I cannot type here all the thoughts that went through my mind, and the words I used. I know this about my species - that there is nothing humans do to each other that they do not do to other species. I have seen the results. You think you have seen the worst then a human just brings you to tears, makes your stomach burn and your heart beat so hard you think it will jump from your body. I say, fight, volunteer, vote, sign petitions, give even a dollar because it will be bundled with another and another. This planet is better when all species have a place - more alive, more beautiful, more real, just more. A kind gesture takes so little energy. A good thought united with other good thoughts can make incredible things happen. We humans are only as good as our last, best effort.


Personally, it sickens me that there are so called people (barbarians) that EVEN exist. I wish these Inhumane Barbarians should be Put in the "Position" (heavy chain around neck, beatings, starving, etc). In Other words, would suffer the SAME Consequence!!!!, as they put these "Innocent" Animals in. If Only......


YOU CAN'T ALWAYS JUST ASK PEOPLE TO STEP IN THEMSELVES. I think its totally fair that people ask to have organizations and not got step in themselves. Sure call in the abuse and try to get it reported somewhere, by all means do that. Do it over and over and keep bugging. But what if nothing gets done anyway because there is no ASPCA in your area? Some of these dog fighting people are themselves dangerous and you don't know if they could react violently and who knows what they are willing to do to stop you from stepping in. You could be attacked if they catch you trying to take pictures or what not. I think the better way is to keep bugging your county or state to put together an ASPCA organization or beef up the one they have. Try to rally up support, petitions etc.

Wanda Todd

God bless you for the work you do!

Wanda Todd

God bless you for the work you do!