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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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Mary Pit Rescuer

Another issue is that people believe all of the hype about Pits being vicious dogs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have heard time after time from people that they were terrified of Pits until they actually met one & spent time around them. They are always amazed at how playful & silly they are. And most of all how all they want is your love & attention. More public education is needed about Pits & the Media has to stop sensationalizing Pit attacks. Any dog can be driven to be vicious if it is tormented & abused.

Mary Pit Rescuer

Another issue is that people believe all of the hype about Pits being vicious dogs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have heard time after time from people that they were terrified of Pits until they actually met one & spent time around them. They are always amazed at how playful & silly they are. And most of all how all they want is your love & attention. More public education is needed about Pits & the Media has to stop sensationalizing Pit attacks. Any dog can be driven to be vicious if it is tormented & abused.

tami hepfner

Ann I truly feel your pain. I live in Valdosta on the Brooks Co. side. you cant even get the dog warden out of the building for anything. two years ago some fool down the road left his dog in the sun without water. it fried. when they hunt with dogs, they will leave them in the truck, in small cages packed with up to 5 dogs per cage. when they are done hunting its party time. dogs are sometimes left in those cages for up to 3 days. sitting on top of each other. no food, no potty breaks. state laws mean nothing here

JOHN

Hi You could call,another ASPCA and ask how you could start one in your area. Thanks.

Stefanie

Ann Marie,

It's also up to you and your neighbors to report suspicious dog owning behavior. Call the police and insist on action. I call all the time and I live in a small town in Alabama. One in which some of the 367 were seized. Most Animal Control personnel don't have any support from the community. Call the mayor and require more stringent animal protection laws. It's up to us.

Astrid Murrison

You feel local Animal Folks don't do enough!!!! Way don't you say THE DON"T CARE A SHIT!!!!!!

Deb Conner

You feel the "local animal people" dont do enough?! How about you attempting to do something to rectify the situation?! Perhaps YOU and the rest of the lazy, do-nothing public should get involved.

John Rowan

Amen to that...when you say 'someone should do something', maybe YOU'RE that someone, huh???

Milber

Ann Marie, STEP UP! "The Animal People..." are people like you and I. It takes every animal lover in the country to help the hundreds of thousands of animals who are mistreated, abused, neglected, etc. Form a rescue group! Surely there are others in the Gainesville area who care as much as you do. Start a non-profit group, foster within your homes, pressure City Council members to dedicate funds for a shelter. You can do it!!

Kayla

Yea I agree but I live in a really small county and we don't even have an animal control officer or anything. I've made some calls about dogs being abandoned and mistreated but nothing really happens. I wish we would have an animal rescue or animal officer because ppl in this county mistreat animals. I would love to take in all the dogs that are abandoned or mistreated but I just cant afford it. I see dogs running along the roads and being neglected here and would love to take them in, it just sickens me that somebody would get an animal and then abuse them or neglect them. If you don't want to take care of an animal then DON'T get one!!!

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