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 cried at this then smiled and cried at the pics of the pup, one day they will have to answer to a higher power and he will send them straight to hell you will not rest in peace for what you have done you ARE SCUM Yvonne UK

Antonia Vassila

How can these people torture innocent animals. I admire and pray for blessings about the angels of humane society and all who investigate and chase and busted the criminals. Thank you.

Pat Swanson

I am so grateful there are people like Tim Rickey and his associates who have not only the heart but the guts to do what they do! I don't. It breaks my heart to read about this kind of thing and I know I could never see it face to face. All I can do is contribute money and prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you for ending this fate worse than death and for giving these wonderful creatures the chance to truly live!

Sherry Kline

Dog fighting is hell on earth for these dogs, they are born innocent sweet puppies and then molded into aggression and tortured their whole lives. The photo of this puppy chained made me cry, all puppies should be licking faces and chasing balls and getting their tummies rubbed. At least this little one was one of the lucky ones and he can bounce back and forget the beginning part of his life. Thank god for the ASPCA for rescuing these innocent animals. Everyone must be educated, including children, to stop the vicious cycle of dog fighting and penalties should be increased for anyone involved, jail time, high fines. The worst of the worst are the bait dogs, no animal should suffer that way, ever. I still say, educate the children as soon as they are old enough to understand that this is WRONG! Bring pitbulls into schools and show people how gentle they can be and how no animal should suffer this way. Alot of times, children grow up watching adults fight dogs and they think it is acceptable and they take on the legacy. Anyone that even suspects dogs are being used for fighting should contact their local police department.

andrea moore

i think there needs to be stiffer penalties and fines for both animal and child abuse.
These a-holes go to court and get a slap on the hand and a fine and go out and do it again. society needs to learn to value life more than money.

margaret mc colgan

So glad this little fellow was rescued , hope he finds his forever home x feel sad for the ones that didnt make it , wyat a sad cruel w8rld we live in


they are innocent animals until the monster humans get a hold of them and kill them or make them fight. despicable.

Linnea Graf

Thank goodness they are saved the picture of this puppy broke my heart

Linnea Graf

So happy they are rescued

E. Beron

I live in Louisiana and in a southwest LA city there was dog fighting and lots of people paid to watch. When a group almost had it stopped, the nearby restaurant used its muscle to have the fighting approved because its business was good on dog-fighting nights!!! Imagine that stretching of the law!!!