Why We Need National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 2:00pm
The ASPCA rescued nearly 400 dogs in a multi-state dog fighting raid in August 2013 spanning Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia.

By ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker

Just last week, authorities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, along with the ASPCA raided eight crime scenes, seizing 23 suspected fighting dogs. It’s a chilling and sad reminder of how prevalent dog fighting is in America today and a further indication of why it was necessary for us to declare April 8 National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.

Even though dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states, the ASPCA’s participation in two major multi-state raids in the last year alone refute any claim that dog fighting is a rare activity, or that it’s restricted to certain parts of the country or people with whom we wouldn’t normally associate.

The truth is dog fighting is not a relic of times past or random, isolated incidents. In addition to last week’s Wisconsin dog fighting case, nearly 100 dogs were seized in a multi-state raid just over a year ago across Texas, Missouri and Kansas. Just eight months ago, hundreds of dogs were seized in what is believed to be the second largest dog fighting case in U.S. history across Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas.

The truth is dog fighting is not a “southern problem.” The blood sport has been reported in urban, suburban and rural settings in all regions of the country.

The truth is dog fighting participants represent people you may know. Lawyers, judges, teachers, high school football coaches and veterinary technicians have all been arrested in connection to dog fighting. People involved in dog fighting also span racial and socioeconomic boundaries.

These are the relatively pleasant truths. Unpleasant truths include stories of animals being routinely and viciously attacked, beaten, electrocuted and drowned. They include stories about “rape stands” used for breeding, and “bait dogs” used for fighting practice. Bait dogs are typically stolen pets or dogs that refuse to fight. Their teeth are often removed so that other dogs can practice fighting without getting injured.

As I wrote recently, it’s not enough to see dog fighting as just a crime. Society discourages, yet tolerates a number of crimes—some are even glorified. But dog fighting is a deep stain on our national character, a cultural embarrassment we should all feel. This is not about just locking up bad guys; this is about doing everything we can to bring this nightmarish practice to an end. We can’t rest until it does.

That’s why National Dog Fighting Awareness Day isn’t just another way to fill a calendar box; it’s a necessary measure to help stop one of the most horrific forms of animal abuse imaginable.

Of course you probably don’t know about dog fights going on where you live. But chances are you know some children, and can talk to them about the value animals bring to our lives, as well as the humanity we owe them in return.

Here’s what else you can do:

Please tell friends and family about April 8, National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, and help break these chains of suffering. 

Photo: The ASPCA rescued nearly 400 dogs in a multi-state dog fighting raid in August 2013 spanning Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia.  

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Your an embarrassment to humane race for not thinking one SHOULD be forgiven if he repents for his mistakes. Mathew, your sicker than he Mike Vick was. Sad but true.

mary lukowski

Anyone how supports dog figting is a disgusting piece of crap. I might add rooster fighting on the list. but right now we are talking about mans best friend. and a beautiful loyal one at that. I would chain you up if I could for several days in the rain and snow with no food or water. you deserve it and worse as you are suppose to be a human being. Jim, you are right, this is something they wanted to do. Not made to do. What forgiveness should they have. the dog will. Not me and many others. This has to be stopped and we can do it together. I didnt read about Mathew but maybe not today. Dog fighting is a sick sport. and not to be treated by a doctor. Jail time and the same thing for them. How will they learn?

Kat K

You're the sick one, Jim. Animal abuse is truly inexcusable, intolerable and disgusting, and YES, IT IS UNFORGIVEABLE!!! There is no repentance for abusing a helpless creature with no choice and no voice. And as far as Micheal Vick goes, he doesn't even deserve to live, and I wish someone would kill the SOB. Would you want your children abused this way?? Same thing. You should never have an animal in your possession~~it sounds to me as if you could be as dangerous as Vick.


Jim, Vick never said he was sorry for what he did to those dogs. He said he was sorry that his family, friends, fans and NFL had to deal with what happened and that he couldn't play football for all of his fans. So Mr. Vick is not sorry for what he did, he is just sorry he got caught, that's why he lied to the police in the first place.

Linda Crane

I pray for the day when the human race will appreciate our furry friends! Stop the abuse!!