What Is Dog Fighting, and What Can You Do To Stop It?

April 6, 2017

What Is Dog Fighting, and What Can You Do To Stop It?

National Dogfighting Awareness Day (NDFAD) is April 8, and for the fifth consecutive year, the ASPCA is calling on our supporters and all animal lovers to take a stand against dogfighting, which is a heinous form of animal cruelty. You can play a critical role by getting the facts about dogfighting and taking action alongside us to end this abuse.

Below, you’ll see the most common questions related to dogfighting answered, along with a list of simple steps you can take in support of NDFAD this year.

What Is Dogfighting?

Dogfighting 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, dogfighting is one of the most deplorable forms of animal cruelty.

What Is Dog Fighting?

Why Do People Get Involved in Dogfighting?

There are many reasons people are drawn to dogfighting. 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 Dogfighting?

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.

Which Dogs Are Used in Dog Fighting?

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.

How Are Fighting Dogs Raised and Trained?

What Happens in a Dogfight?

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 dogfighting, read the ASPCA’s A Closer Look at Dogfighting.

What Happens in a Dog Fight?

What Can I do to Help?

We’ve come up with three simple actions that you can take today:

  1. Spread the Word! Take to your social media channels to tell us what your dog was #BornTo do and help us raise awareness as we fight to break the chain and end dogfighting.
  2. Sign the Petition! Don’t let dogfighting victims suffer due to government red tape! Help these innocent animals find new homes faster by urging support for the HEART Act.
  3. Donate. By supporting the ASPCA, you are supporting the fight against dogfighting and helping us break this chain of violence.

What Can I do to Help?

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!