What Is Dog Fighting, and What Can You Do To Stop It?
This Saturday, April 8, the ASPCA will be celebrating National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (NDFAD) for the fourth consecutive year. In honor of this important day, we’re asking all of our supporters to take a stand against this heinous act of cruelty —and we want to equip you with the right information to do so.
Below, you’ll see the most common questions related to dog fighting answered, along with a list of simple steps you can take in support of NDFAD this year.
What Is Dog Fighting?
Dog fighting is a type of blood sport in which dogs are forced to fight one another for the entertainment and/or profit of spectators. A felony offense in all 50 states, dog fighting is one of the most deplorable forms of animal cruelty.
Why Do People Get Involved in Dog Fighting?
There are many reasons people are drawn to dog fighting. The most basic answer is greed. It is not unusual to see $20,000-30,000 change hands during a single fight—major dog fight raids have resulted in seizures of more than $500,000—not to mention the money that can be made from stud fees and the sales of pups from promising bloodlines. For others, the attraction lies in using the animals as an extension of themselves to fight their battles and to demonstrate their own strength and prowess. For some, the appeal simply seems to come from the sadistic enjoyment of a brutal spectacle.
Which Dogs Are Used in Dog Fighting?
Although there are many breeds of dogs used for fighting worldwide, the dog of choice for fighting in the United States at this time is the American Pit Bull Terrier. Occasionally other breeds and mixes are reportedly used in street fights, or as “bait” dogs used by some to train fighting dogs.
This does not mean that the pit bull is unsuitable as a family pet. It is important to remember that any dog can behave aggressively, depending on the context, his genetic background and his upbringing and environment. The ASPCA is opposed to Breed-Specific Legislation.
How Are Fighting Dogs Raised and Trained?
Fighting dogs are kept isolated from other dogs and most people, so they spend most of their lives on short, heavy chains. The conditioning of fighting dogs may make use of a variety of legal and illegal drugs, including anabolic steroids to enhance muscle mass and encourage aggressiveness. Narcotic drugs may also be used to increase the dogs’ aggression, increase reactivity and mask pain or fear during a fight. Fighting dogs may have their ears cropped and tails docked close to their bodies. Fighters usually perform this cropping/docking themselves using crude and inhumane techniques.
What Happens in a Dog Fight?
Fights can last just a few minutes or several hours. Both animals may suffer injuries, including puncture wounds, lacerations, blood loss, crushing injuries and broken bones. Although fights are not usually to the death, many dogs succumb to their injuries later. Losing dogs are often discarded, killed or simply left with their injuries untreated. If the losing dog is perceived to be a particular embarrassment to the reputation or status of its owner, it may be executed in a particularly brutal fashion as part of the “entertainment.”
For more information on the above questions, and the legal implications involved with dog fighting, read the ASPCA’s A Closer Look at Dog Fighting.
What Can I do to Help?
We’ve come up with three simple actions that you can take today:
- Get Tough! Join Sir Patrick Stewart in the ASPCA’s #GetTough movement by snapping a muscle-flexing selfie and sharing it on your social channels using the hashtag #GetTough and tagging @ASPCA.
- Make your voice heard! Sign our pledge and help us generate 50,000 signatures advocating against dog fighting.
- Donate. By supporting the ASPCA, you are supporting the fight against dog fighting.
Countless animals around the country are counting on your compassion, your outrage and your willingness to stop their suffering. By taking the actions listed above, you’ll be joining a growing movement of animal-lovers who are dedicated to putting an end to this nightmare. Thank you for your voice!