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




Leash, I couldn't agree with you more.


amen to that

a k shair

Thank God for the chance these animals got being rescued. I would like to see harsh laws for those that perpetrate such evil treatment to the animals. It is so appalling that there are animals treated as evidenced.
It takes people with a greater level of humanity to be compassionate to animals and vice versa: it takes a low level of humanity in those that commit such treatment to these helpless creatures. It needs to be stopped and those that do it should be held to account-hopefully not just get away with a slap to the wrist.

Jack H

At the heart of the Bible belt, God didn't really seem to care much about these poor animals.

Dennis Mull

After 34 years of military and police service the evil of people does not surprise me. I would have no problem putting these people in the same horrible circumstances but society is weak. End of story.


Leah, you are so right. Thank God for all of the selfless people who work in all capacities to save the lives of lost, injured, abused, lonely, innocent animals who can do nothing to help themselves and are left bereft and without understanding or the blessing of a loving touch or softly spoken word.

There are so many victims in the world and every single one of us needs to do our part, no matter how small it may be.


Leah, I wholeheartedly agree with your comment. Thanks for sharing your caring comment!!


Leah, agree with you! Laws have to change so these evil people will know what they will be facing when caught abusing these innocent animals, that don't even know what is going on when throwed into fights and scared to death. My heart breaks everytime I see this evil abuse!

Pat Houle

Why don't they also do something to the people who pay to see these fights.....if they were not doing what they are doing, there would be no money and no need for dog fighting. Make their names public and let them bear the shame of it too.


Such a large collar and chain for a small creature. :( If these people don't pay dearly for what they do on this earth, their souls will certainly pay severe punishment in the after life. No "Rainbow Bridge" will be waiting for them.

Keep on fighting the good fight for our animal friends