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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 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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What you are doing is simply magnificent. You are an angel.

Buster & Taki

Woof! Yes, it's dangerous to intervene by yourself. Form a pressure group. Show up at city hall. Hold meetings with like minded animal lovers. Put the pressure on. When an animal abuse situation gets reported hold the authorities accountable. Things will change for the better if you keep it up. Democracy is no more than what citizens are willing to do.

Astrid Murrison

I AGREE!!! Many People don't want to be involved or they don’t care a Shit!!! Out of Side Out of Mine.


wow you are truly an angel. most people don't want to get involved but thankfully there are those like yourself. god bless you


Document, document, document. Be sure you have a camera or camera-phone to collect evidence. And the others are right - be careful! Don't let them know where you live or retaliation can occur to you, or to your pets when you're not there. If you have another person that can go with you, you also have another witness.


THANK YOU LAILA,,,, YOU are one of GODS Angels that he puts here to help and save these precious furs... we have all around us ... heartless ,greedy people... To me they are not even HUMEN... I pray THAT ALL GET Caught AND SEVERLY punished.......... god bless!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Be careful. People who don't care about their "pet" also don't care for stranger telling what to do. I contributed to ASPCA and our local SPCA.

Maria Fredriksen

Where do you live in Indiana? I have a brother who is on a board for the protection of cruelty to animals. He's from Ft. Wayne. None of my mother's children are tolerant of animal abuse. You need help and I hope you get it.
The abuse of an animal is no less disgusting than beating a baby. It has to stop
I adopted a little girl from a foster and she had a terrible first two years of life.
She is now a happy little girl and gets better every day. She is my family, along with a well loved cat. People we need to report any abuse and do what we can, within our own circumstances to do something -anything to help.

Lesley Turnbull

Laila, I hope you have back up on an open phone line at least while undertaking what sounds to be a dangerous endeavor but thank you so much for caring enough to do it. I can't imagine someone not doing anything either.