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 am a animal lover of all and can not for the life of me understand how people can be so mean to these animals that look to us to take care of them. Please people treat them with kindness and love they are so receptive to love and kindness and are loyal loving and giving of their selves and it brings me to tears and hurts my heart when I see them so mistreated.


First we have to look to our judicial system, they are responsible for breeding such cruelty. These decision makers, lawyers, judges are all worst than the criminals themselves. Then we have look at ourselves, we stand by allowing the system to breed such cruelty. It is much better to breed compassion, kindness and a moral centre.


God Bless all that you do.....thank you from the bottom of my heart you gave them life and I hope they all get adopted and those people get what they deserve torture is what they deserve. It makes me sick that AMERICA is the way it is.


God Bless all that you do.....thank you from the bottom of my heart you gave them life and I hope they all get adopted and those people get what they deserve torture is what they deserve. It makes me sick that AMERICA is the way it is.


We found pit bull chained and padlocked to a telephone pole on a day over 100. When we came home she was still there. We got bolt cutters to cut through the chains. We decided to get her in better shape b4 we took her to the shelter. Within a few days she was in agony. Because of the dehydration she developed a skin infection, eye and ear infections, and pneumonia. Then we found ourselves getting her shots and spayed-it wasn't the law about spaying-we just did it to keep from becoming a permanent baby machine. Then there was dog training because Pits can be so dangerous. The dog trainers were hostile because she didn't sit-down fast enough. Then she began limping really bad from being beaten to make her mean. We saw the X-Rays of bone fragments and messed up shoulder blades, so she had to go on a special diet. Then she needed to be socialized so she could get a good home. I took her to art studio classes, where she was adored. That went on for over 10 years. Fighting dogs do not have "significant human interaction" with the beasts that torment them. It's like calling rape an act of love.


You can get involved on the local level. Volunteer at a shelter or rescue. I volunteer at a no kill animal rescue in NJ it is a very rewarding experience. Sadly there are kill shelters. The irony is that they may get animals who are strays, victims of abuse, or owner surrenders. At most the animal (dog or cat) has only a week to get adopted. After that due to overcrowding, these poor souls get put down sometimes in most inhumane ways.

Additionally to the SPCA, there are listings of Animal Rescues on The more people who volunteer and donate to these no kill shelters the more chances there are to rescue dogs and cats from kill shelters. If there are no animal rescues in your area, be brave get together with like minded friends and start one. Use the SPCA and Petfinder to contact other rescues for guidance on how to start and keep a rescue working.

If that is beyond your time and skill set, adopt from a rescue or kill shelter. By doing so, you may be directly responsible for saving a cat or dog's life. The result is you get a forever loving companion to have forever.

Dog lover

Oh my! How could anyone have the heart to do something to a sweet little puppy like that! Thank god you gave him love and support.


Thank you for rescuing them, it is a disgrace to humans this behavior.


I have 3 dogs I rescued from abuse and neglect. I cannot stand to see it. I went back and saved a dog just 2 weeks ago. She was just left on a chain, lost its fur, no water or food. I brought the dog home, she is doing a lot better. But I have 2 other dogs I rescued, so my thing is I can't afford taking care of them. I am doing what I can, but food and medical care for them is breaking me. I will do more research, is there any help from organizations that will help out with food or medical assistance for someone like me who will rescue a dog or cat, etc. I love them all and will do anything to help.

Linda Brooks

Any sport which victimizes innocent animals while brutish & depraved men participate or watch is disgusting. These "men" belong in a prison environment where they are forced to do the fighting themselves.