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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 aspcarescue.org 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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Shellie Denne

Given the history of the ASPCA and pit bulls (remember the pit girl, Oreo, who was thrown out of an apt. building window and the NYC chapter decided to kill her even though there was a number of rescue groups and individuals who wanted to adopt her), I wonder what the fate is going to be for those poor dogs who were "rescued". As the victims of Michael Vick have proven, over a majority of them were able to be "rehabilitated" and love their new families.

So how many of these poor pits are going to be given the chance to prove the nobility of their breed? Or is the ASPCA going to just kill them because they don't want to bother since they have already made the headlines?

By the way, thanks for getting the word out to the general public about the evils of dog fighting.

Lori Grone

We live in a very sick world and the people involved in this horror are truly evil. Worthless pieces of human garbage! The only punishment suitable would be for them to endure what these innocent dogs went through.
Thank you ASPCA for saving their precious lives and giving them a second chance for happiness that ALL dogs deserve!

Denise

After volunteering for 5 years now at a Shihtzurescue.org in South Florida, my eyes are so wide open, they never shut as to what I have seen as far as rescuing!!! And these are mostly Shihtzu's and small breeds!!! Do it!! If you have an extra dollar or more, or a extra hour or two, Volunteer and/or donate, nothing feels more rewarding! Sorry, got off on a tangent! We need help!!

Monique

PLEASE DEAR GOD PLEASE GIVE PEOPLE MONEY TO SAVE THOSE PRECIOUS DOGS INCLUDING ME PLEASE JESUS I SEE THOSE PRECIOUS PICTURES AND MY HEART GOES OUT TO THEM PLEASE LET ME WIN MONEY TO DONATE PLEASE I THINK TIME TO TIME TO UNSUBSCRIBE BECAUSE SEEING THIS ITS HARD TO HANDLE PLEASE GIVE US MONEY FOR DONATION.

Melissa

The scum of the earth that do these horrible things these poor innocent dogs do not deserve to be alive. To do those sorts of things are not human. It makes me sick. It's monsters like that, that give the American Pit Bull Terrier a bad name. How quickly it's forgotten that they used to be the poster dog for Americana, loyalty and bravery for the USA during wartime. The dogs haven't changed, people have changed. Penalties should be swift, harsh and heavy.

alma

I hate this. How are our laws allowing this. Michael Vick is living a carefree, justifiably unpunished life for the atrocities he was involved with the fighting dogs, throwing beagles to the pit bulls & frying the dogs in a swimming pool w/electricity if they lost a fight. It takes someone really deranged to be a part of that. Did everyone already forget? They should have made an example of him. So much for justice.. Thank you ASPCA I give monthly & know it is a worthy cause, especially when I read stories like these!

doris

I wish that we could do to the people what they do to these poor helpless animals. They have no chance, unless someone comes along to help them. The owner, like Michael Vick, then only gets a slap on the wrist a few months in jail while most of the dogs have already met their fate.

It is great to see that this puppy has a chance at a happy, healthy life with someone who will love and take care of him. That's all they ask for and that's all we should give.

Jena

I do agree with you of 100%. These people who treats these animals in a terrible act and be chained up. They DO NOT deserve to have any pets. The Law need to know who these people are and all the animal's shelters throughout the United States. They should be banned for life of ever having any animals at home.

Jena

I am glad that puppy is doing much better now.
It is so terrible act that it comes from a human being!!!! No puppies and dogs were
NOT born to be in fights just for their owner's pleasure. That is sick all the way!!!!
There should be a major punishment for those people who will make any puppies or dogs into fights. For this precious puppy who once was chained. That is WRONG!!!! ALL puppies, dogs, kittens and cats have feelings!!!!!
ALL they desire is to be loved and care for from someone who loves them.

LaFaith

This is truly sad that we live with these types of Human Animals. I wonder how they would feel, if they were these dogs. Go ahead take a few more looks. Ask yourself, if this was me, how would I be feeling. Go ahead take a few more looks and ask yourself. Is this how some humans show "Love” Do they realize these dogs could be one of their best friends in this world. How many can raise their hands and speak for their dogs? I'm one and this is not how I treat my dog for the "Love of Money” this is sick and it sucks! I pray one day there will be a ASPCA in every state. If we don't stop this abuse, it will only get worst. Thank You ASPCA, for giving these dogs a second chance. We all deserve a second chance, Go ahead look again.(

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