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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 aspcarescue.org 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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Monica

All of you ladies are correct when you say more needs to be done because there aren't enough animal control officers hired or not enough people get involved. Unfortunately, things won't get any better until more laws are put in place and the abusers have to get more than just a slap on the hand. I personally believe the offenders should get the same punishment that would be put upon a child abuser, but that's my opinion. But then again, even some child abusers don't get much of a sentence or the child is still kept with the abuser because the findings are unfounded. It all makes me sick! We should put more focus on legislation and from there more laws can be put in place and then hopefully the states/ countries that DO NOT have any animal protection laws can gradually begin to form. But until that even happens we have to do whatever we can to stop animal abuse/neglect and death by taking pics, getting written statements from whoever has witnessed or heard anything, without endangering ourselves, if possible. There has to be concrete evidence such as what I stated above, in order to be considered or to even be heard. The more evidence the better. I apologize for going on and on.

Lisa

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!

Lisa

Hi, Ann Marie - Get out & help!!! It's so rewarding personally to actually help!! There's plenty of volunteering to be done, from small to big tasks. Every little bit (donating time or funds or supplies) is helpful to the organizations trying to protect innocent animals, so get out and do something!!! From hands-on animal care to things like laundry, cleaning, fundraising, mailings, doing your own simple things like donating the funds from a tag sale/bake sale to holding a dog & cat food donation drive, be creative - join in and lend a helping hand!!! I'm sure you can come up with a way to help that suits you! Most shelters have volunteer orientations and all will welcome a helping hand. Just remember, they are busy and sometimes can be a bit chaotic depending on what may be going on, so do your best to be helpful. IT WILL BE MOST APPRECIATED BY ALL, AND THE ANIMALS!!! :-)

Jody C

I agree with Ann Marie. I live in Ocala, Florida and travel all over Florida for my job into homes and neighborhoods. Lately and coincidentally,I have been in Gainsville once a week, but I truly work and travel all over Florida. It distresses and outrages me enormously to see some of what I see. I am a member of ASPCA and Humane Society of US and have mentioned my state and others like it down here when speaking to Reps on phone from both Agencies. No disrespect intended , but I have never had a "rep" ask me to "elaborate" from either organization. Not enough is being done. I wish I could give more, but I am doing what I can. It was validating to hear from Ann Marie that she observes what I observe. Fellow animal lovers: REPORT what you see, but be cautious of who you report to....these atrocities are big money makers and in some cases "culturally acceptable" to some of the perpetrators and followers down here. In any event, with the enormous task these Agencies have in front of them, I am thankful they do the work they do because other than donate some money and try to educate the people around me.. I can think of nothing else that I can do to help create change that is the birthright of all animals and the responsibility of all us us who love them.

Jody C

I agree with Ann Marie. I live in Ocala, Florida and travel all over Florida for my job into homes and neighborhoods. Lately and coincidentally,I have been in Gainsville once a week, but I truly work and travel all over Florida. It distresses and outrages me enormously to see some of what I see. I am a member of ASPCA and Humane Society of US and have mentioned my state and others like it down here when speaking to Reps on phone from both Agencies. No disrespect intended , but I have never had a "rep" ask me to "elaborate" from either organization. Not enough is being done. I wish I could give more, but I am doing what I can. It was validating to hear from Ann Marie that she observes what I observe. Fellow animal lovers: REPORT what you see, but be cautious of who you report to....these atrocities are big money makers and in some cases "culturally acceptable" to some of the perpetrators and followers down here. In any event, with the enormous task these Agencies have in front of them, I am thankful they do the work they do because other than donate some money and try to educate the people around me.. I can think of nothing else that I can do to help create change that is the birthright of all animals and the responsibility of all us us who love them.

Jody C

I agree with Ann Marie. I live in Ocala, Florida and travel all over Florida for my job into homes and neighborhoods. Lately and coincidentally,I have been in Gainsville once a week, but I truly work and travel all over Florida. It distresses and outrages me enormously to see some of what I see. I am a member of ASPCA and Humane Society of US and have mentioned my state and others like it down here when speaking to Reps on phone from both Agencies. No disrespect intended , but I have never had a "rep" ask me to "elaborate" from either organization. Not enough is being done. I wish I could give more, but I am doing what I can. It was validating to hear from Ann Marie that she observes what I observe. Fellow animal lovers: REPORT what you see, but be cautious of who you report to....these atrocities are big money makers and in some cases "culturally acceptable" to some of the perpetrators and followers down here. In any event, with the enormous task these Agencies have in front of them, I am thankful they do the work they do because other than donate some money and try to educate the people around me.. I can think of nothing else that I can do to help create change that is the birthright of all animals and the responsibility of all us us who love them.

Jody C

I agree with Ann Marie. I live in Ocala, Florida and travel all over Florida for my job into homes and neighborhoods. Lately and coincidentally,I have been in Gainsville once a week, but I truly work and travel all over Florida. It distresses and outrages me enormously to see some of what I see. I am a member of ASPCA and Humane Society of US and have mentioned my state and others like it down here when speaking to Reps on phone from both Agencies. No disrespect intended , but I have never had a "rep" ask me to "elaborate" from either organization. Not enough is being done. I wish I could give more, but I am doing what I can. It was validating to hear from Ann Marie that she observes what I observe. Fellow animal lovers: REPORT what you see, but be cautious of who you report to....these atrocities are big money makers and in some cases "culturally acceptable" to some of the perpetrators and followers down here. In any event, with the enormous task these Agencies have in front of them, I am thankful they do the work they do because other than donate some money and try to educate the people around me.. I can think of nothing else that I can do to help create change that is the birthright of all animals and the responsibility of all us us who love them.

Jody C

I agree with Ann Marie. I live in Ocala, Florida and travel all over Florida for my job into homes and neighborhoods. Lately and coincidentally,I have been in Gainsville once a week, but I truly work and travel all over Florida. It distresses and outrages me enormously to see some of what I see. I am a member of ASPCA and Humane Society of US and have mentioned my state and others like it down here when speaking to Reps on phone from both Agencies. No disrespect intended , but I have never had a "rep" ask me to "elaborate" from either organization. Not enough is being done. I wish I could give more, but I am doing what I can. It was validating to hear from Ann Marie that she observes what I observe. Fellow animal lovers: REPORT what you see, but be cautious of who you report to....these atrocities are big money makers and in some cases "culturally acceptable" to some of the perpetrators and followers down here. In any event, with the enormous task these Agencies have in front of them, I am thankful they do the work they do because other than donate some money and try to educate the people around me.. I can think of nothing else that I can do to help create change that is the birthright of all animals and the responsibility of all us us who love them.

Ashley

Jody, I'd also like to invite you to Petsmart on Archer Rd. tomorrow from 11-5 so you can see first hand what the communities of Alachua, Levy and Marion counties are doing to help the fur people that surround them. There are numerous opportunities available to continue to help. I'll be with Phoenix Animal Rescue if you'd like to come discuss them. :)

Karen

I have the same here in Washington state. We had a horse just down the road that was starved tied to a tree. The horse was so starved, its head was getting big. No one could see it until it was too late due to it being behind their house, but now there are 2 more horses in their yard????? We need more animal control officers!

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