ASPCA National Poll Reveals Dogfighting Goes Underreported Despite Hundreds of Thousands of Dogs Being Forced to Fight Nationwide

New study reveals misperceptions about dogfighting prevalence and a lack of confidence in recognizing signs of dogfighting
April 3, 2018

New York—In advance of National Dogfighting Awareness Day on April 8, the ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today released the results of a national poll measuring the gap between the public’s awareness and understanding of dogfighting and its actual prevalence in the United States. The poll findings exposed that many people do not realize how common dogfighting truly is, may not be able to recognize the signs, and are not properly reporting this activity when it’s suspected. The poll, which was conducted in March 2018 by Edge Research, found that: 

  • Most people (57 percent) believe dogfighting never happens in their community;
  • Fifty-nine percent of those polled are confident they would know if dogfighting was happening in their community, but fewer than a third (31 percent) are very confident they would recognize the signs of dogfighting; and
  • While the vast majority of those polled (92 percent) say they would contact local authorities if they suspected dogfighting, only about half (53 percent) of those who actually did suspect dogfighting reported it to local authorities, and 25 percent did nothing at all.

“Through our extensive work with law enforcement agencies nationwide, we know that organized dogfighting is taking place in every type of community across the country, causing unimaginable pain and suffering for the animals involved,” said Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group. “By familiarizing yourself with the signs of dogfighting and committing to reporting this type of activity, you are helping us save the lives of these voiceless victims and making your community a safer place for animals and humans alike.”

ASPCA experts estimate that there are tens of thousands of dog fighters across the country forcing hundreds of thousands of dogs to brutally train, fight, and suffer as part of a so-called “blood sport”. In the past eight years, the ASPCA has assisted with approximately 200 dogfighting cases in at least 24 states, and has impacted through rescue, consultations and investigations nearly 5,000 victims of dogfighting. Last year alone, the ASPCA directly rescued more than 400 animals from dogfighting across 12 states.

National Dogfighting Awareness Day was established by the ASPCA to raise awareness about the prevalence of dogfighting in the United States, reveal little-known truths about the blood sport, and encourage animal lovers nationwide to act against this brutal form of animal cruelty. The ASPCA continues to tackle the illegal underground world of dogfighting rings through investigations, law enforcement training, legislation, advocacy and rehabilitation of dogs seized during dogfighting raids. To learn more about the signs of dogfighting and what you can do to help, visit