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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The law enforcement in your community is either blind or in desperate need of a major audit. As for the owner and the people who support this resturant, my mother would say don't go after revenge it will fall in your lap. How fast would the owner put up with a law suit if one of the dogs got loose and attacked a patron. Guess that would be a different story, if it affects his pocket in an adverse manner. Maybe someday the owner will choke on his on food with no one to help oh well what a lose.


I'd like to know who these people are that do this kind of thing to innocent animals. Are a street gangs, or drug dealing types? What's their names, and how many were involved? Are criminal charges being brought against them? Where was this ring found in the US? What states were involved? They all need to be chained by the neck & forced to fight each other for the rest of their lives.


How can any human being be so cruel to an innocent, trusting dog? Just makes me cry to look at this adorable, trusting little puppy,who only asks for a human's love. People who have any part in dog fighting should be made to wear chains, too!


Thank you ASPCA for rescuing these fur babies! The people that have done this to them need to be put down! There is no reason in the world that people like that should still be on this earth.


I live in a city where I volunteer at the local shelter. I do the laundry. There's no better feeling than knowing a senior or emanciated dog can curl up on something soft. Abuse & neglect should always be reported. However,for those not on the front
line, there are other ways to help. Can you foster? Dogs/cats can use a place to recuperate. Check with your local shelter/humane society.


If judges/law makers can look at this photo and still give these vile humans who torture these poor creatures light sentences or no jail time at all, then this world has really and truly gone to hell.


Wouldn't it be wonderful to subject the owner(s) to the same fate and living conditions. I have no mercy in my heart for so called humans who do this to these poor creatures. There is no excuse, I don't want to hear it was the person's childhood they had no choice but to do this to make money, or they are poor. My parent lived thru the depression and did not resort to this because they were cold, sick or had absolutely no food. There are always choices, I have myself been subjected to going without medical care, and even eating and losing my home, guess what you can rise above it all if you want to and try. People who engage in these abusive activities are no more than spineless cowards. Jail them all and throw away the key.


Any idea of what can be done - My next door neighbor breeds and trains pit bulls to fight. I have contacted Harris County, TX animal control, JP Court, neighborhood association, sheriff, constable, county judge and county commissioner. They all want to avoid any confrontation with the owner of the operation. An officer out last week went over there but came back and said they would not answer door.


Thank you for helping these wonderful animals!

Lynn Booker

This is one charity I will continue to give. I see results of our donations. they are saving lives daily. We are helping them make a difference. Eveyone - continue to give!