Comment permalink

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




i have also knockd on oors as an animal advocate.tht is what i tell people that come t the door.ask them if they know there dogs chain is to tight or that the dog has no water(florida sweltering hot) or that th law says the dog must have shelter.most ay thy did not know dogs water tpped over or they were not aware.then i chck back fe times on the dog nd it continue i call animal control on them.


Actually, I lived in Indiana for 7 years, and they do have ASPCA helpers there. Maybe you just don't look hard enough. I adopted my cat, Susie, from an ASPCA Shelter in Indiana.


Well said Lucy! I am a recent empty nester wondering what to do with the extra time on my hands....maybe you just gave me an idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God Bless~


thank you for stating what I would like to say. Please people, stand up for the rights of animals and help out the local shelters and spca and so on. If you don't have the time, donations offer assistance as well.


Lucy you are right on the money when it comes to the animals. They are the last to get any gov. funds (if they are a gov. agency) and the first to get cuts. I worked for a shelter for 16 yrs. and a vets for 2yrs. You wouldn't believe what we saw and the amount of animals put to sleep just because you didn't have space. I can't say it enough , get involved, spay and neuter.


Can't bear hands on work? How do you know he/she can't? As individuals you can't just go rescue every animal personally that needs rescuing - neither legally or financially or any other way. You'd just become another crazy hoarder that the animals need to be rescued from. Sometimes in rural areas and areas where there is only local animal control - not spca because face it - SPCA is about abuse and neglect. Animal Control deals with abuse and neglect but they are ANIMAL CONTROL. They pick up the discarded and at least in my neck of the woods - 90% of what walks through the door ends up being taken out the back door to the dump after being euthanized. Not their fault but the two entities are not even close to the same. Especially in rural farm type communities. I know someone who reported abuse of a rabbit to Animal Control and was rudely told "It's just a rabbit." by the woman who took the call at AC.
In my area we have several horse stable/rescue operations that are glorified hoarder heavens. I actually volunteer at one and have done so for years to do what I can to help. They do the best they can. That is all one can ever ask of someone...until it involves living breathing creatures. At that point when your best isn't good enough then you need to make changes and they don't. So the animals care suffers. They've been reported many, many times but its small town USA and they have friends that stick up for them so nothing happens even when they involved the state. The state comes out and looks at them and the when they ask about the worst cases they are given stories and excuses and are backed by some (not all) local officials.

So don't assume that people aren't doing anything. Sometimes people try but they are thwarted time and time again by the legal system.


I understand what your saying, but I hope it wasn't directed to just this one person that was just stating that she does t have an SPCA near her... I think we all knw if we are a part of the email that we all want to help. It sounded very be littling and if you meant it different then forgive me.....
What your saying to all who don't do anything is true everyone could do their part.


Thanks for putting it so sucinctly- right on the mark!

Lesley Turnbull

Thank you for your advice Lucy and your suggestions on how we can help.


Every can find a spare hour or 2. Exactly, get off your ass and do something. There is so many ways a single person can help and make a difference. Stop sitting around typing away at your computer and do something selfless, volunteer. We turn no one away. Your time spent is far more rewarding than your money.