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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Judy Lang

I want this baby!!!!! Congrats ASPCA!!!!


Very heart breaking. I wish you could take a news team on these raids so these pictures can be put out to the public when they give the news. People are unaware of what goes on with these animals. The voiceless need to be in the spotlight of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox or CNN.


I have not been able to comment because I could not bear to look at that poor pup and read about the wretched dogs chained and weighted down by sadists. Thank you from the heart for helping these precious animals. Harshest punishments possible for the monsters who did/do this. It is hard to take in. It is hard to confront evil like this. The goodness of animal rescuers and rehabilitators is our only recourse and their light in the terrible darkness.


So would do such a thing like this it's so cruel personally I hate animal cruelty and I hope those poor sweet little things get better and get a loving family


So would do such a thing like this it's so cruel personally I hate animal cruelty and I hope those poor sweet little things get better and get a loving family


Forget jail for these people just take them out and tie them up with no clothes food or shelter and leave them for the rest of their lives. Don't send them to jail for me and everyone else to have to pay to keep them alive I believe they should be put to death and never have the chance to hurt any animal or anything else


The ONLY way this will be curbed in our country is if we take control and responsibility by (a) reporting repeatedly suspected animal cruelty or neglect of any kind to ALL authorities with jurisdiction (b) following up telephone reports with written reports (c) notifying local media (d) keeping diaries of reports and if possible, community web pages or other public forums that keep reports public and in the face of the authorities (e) documenting with photographs of animals, chains, inhumane conditions, license plates, addressses, mailboxes, etc etc etc (being aware that certain information should only be shared with authorities and not posted publicly or you could get in trouble) (f) being willing to spend TIME and ENERGY working with systems that probably have no resources or choose to look the other way and forcing the issues (g) finding advocates like churches or local politicians who will help you make a stink (h) linking dog fighting and animal abuse to crimes people typically consider more serious like drugs and child abuse, domestic violence - showing the patterns and costs not just to the animals that sadly our communities may not care about. Just my two cents.
Other ideas appreciated.


Where I live, a person who was seen or known to be watching or trying to work against dog fighting rings could be killed.

Who would do this?


Thank the Lord that they were rescued from a life of pain and suffering! Keep up the good work ASPCA! May God Bless all of you!