Back in May, I was so blessed to be able to attend the BlogPaws conference in Tysons Corner, Virginia, not far from Washington, DC.
I was even more blessed to be a guest of the ASPCA at an invitation-only event at the National Museum of Crime & Punishment. Now through the end of September, the museum is hosting a dog-fighting exhibit that features some of the tools used by dog fighters to train and fight dogs in a “sport” that is illegal in all 50 states.
The exhibit also includes evidence seized from dog fighting raids by the ASPCA, as well as the tools used by the the group’s veterinary forensic experts to discover how animals may have suffered and died as a result of dog fighting.
One of the things I learned while visiting the exhibit and talking first-hand with people from the ASPCA who have been on the front lines, working to end dog fighting and put dog fighters behind bars, is that this is happening all over the country, in every community. The exhibit included a map that indicated where dog fighting rings have been identified or are suspected to be located, and I can tell you, there wasn’t a state in the US that wasn’t included.
Dog fighting is a real problem that must be taken seriously by all of us. Did you know that in dog fighting rings, even the champion fighters are treated poorly. They live at the end of heavy chains or in tiny, filthy cages. They’re denied the veterinary care they need, and often they aren’t even given the basic necessities of life, like fresh water.
And those are the champions. Imagine the lives of the other dogs! If they don’t die in the ring, they’re tortured, shot, even electrocuted as punishment for losing. Many animals are used as bait for the fighting dogs, and sometimes the dog fighters even use small animals like kittens, puppies, and rabbits as bait.
Even if you don’t care about the torture and mistreatment of animals, you should know that dog fighting, by its very nature, involves illegal activities such as gambling. According to the ASPCA, “dog fighters often face additional charges related to drug, alcohol and weapons violations as well as probation violations. Arguments over dog fights have also resulted in incidents that have led to charges of assault and even homicide. Other charges might include conspiracy, corruption of minors, money laundering, etc.”
Is this the kind of activity you want going on in your neighborhood?
We all must work together to end dog fighting in our communities and across the country. I strongly recommend checking out the ASPCA website for useful information about what you can do if you suspect dog fighting in your area. It’s not going to go away on its own – we’re all going to have to do our part.
In August the ASPCA aided the FBI in making a multi-state dog fighting bust that resulted in the rescue of 367 dogs ranging in age from just a few days to 10-12 years. Investigators also seized firearms and drugs, as well as more than $500,000 in cash.
The video and the photographs above represent a few of the victims of this bust, and were taken from the ASPCA website.
Please help me raise awareness of the prevalence of dog fighting by sharing this post with your friends and family.