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.

Add new comment




Every can find a spare hour or 2. Exactly, get off your ass and do something. There is so many ways a single person can help and make a difference. Stop sitting around typing away at your computer and do something selfless, volunteer. We turn no one away. Your time spent is far more rewarding than your money.


I am just wondering why people posting to this comment automatically assume Anne Marie isn't doing anything just because she said more needs to be done. I am directly involved with the prevention of cruelty to animals but agree more needs to be done...don't know why the cruelty to Anne Marie just for saying more needs to be done.


I think people are upset because she said she felt the local animal folks weren't doing enough. She didn't include herself as a helper, just a criticizer.


I don't know what the punishment is for the perpetrators. I would chain them with heavy weights attached and made to work at the SPCA 12/7. But of course that would be "uncivilised" wouldn't it??


I would even put them in a fighting ring with many dogs and let them be chewed on while everyone just watches and does nothing. I don't like saying that but, if they can actually watch the dog fighting go on and feel no compassion or feel that what their doing is not wrong, then it probably wouldn't stop them from dog fighting anyway.


If nothing else, they can always use money. $18 a month. Not much at todays standards, but if everyone gave this small amount the ASPCA could do so much more! If you can afford more, please give more. They need your help.


Everybody needs to be the Somebody that helps these dear animals find loving, safe homes!! BE THE SOMEBODY don't wait for someone else to be. THAT is the problem!! Not that this or that society is in your areas!!!!


We have the same problem here in Ohio. We have one of the worst animal welfare laws in the country and I have witness first hand horrible offenders get their hands slapped and set free. We need to concentrate on THIS country and its animals and human issues instead of countries that hate us!


I so agree! I'm sick of all these WARS. We need to keep out if Syria. I know that Move On is asking people to host vigils.


I agree! can you imagine if we took the money we spent on war and spent in in the USA to help animals?