Dog Fighting Must Be Knocked Out
As with any illegal underground activity,
it is impossible to determine how many people are involved in the illegal blood sport of dog fighting. Estimates based on fight reports in underground dog fighting publications, dog fight raids and busts, and on animals entering shelters with evidence of fighting, suggest that the number of people involved in dog fighting in the U.S. is an estimated 40,000 people. With fight purses as high as $100,000 the dogs can earn their owners thousands of dollars in gambling profits and by producing puppies with a “desirable” bloodline.
Just as dog fighting cuts across many regions of the country, participants and spectators at dog fights are a diverse group. While some might typify dog fighting as a symptom of urban decay, not every dog fighter is economically disadvantaged. There are people who promote or participate in dog fighting from every community and background. Audiences contain lawyers, judges and teachers drawn in by the excitement and thrill of the blood sport.
Dog fighting and all of the acts that go along with it the brutality toward the dogs; the use of weaker animals as bait; the agony inflicted in the fighting pit; the execution-style killing of dogs cannot be described by any reasonable person as anything less than horrific abuse.
It’s a no win situation for the dogs as fighting dogs have few friends. They are forced into a life of violence and suffering. They live lives of brutality and unspeakable cruelty at the hands of those who gamble on their deaths. It is a contest with no winners because if/when a dog wins, he is forced to fight again. Dogs that lose or give up in the ring will not normally live long, either dying from their injuries or from being brutally tortured by their owners. Betrayal and death also await them at “humane” societies if they do get “rescued”. In a similar fate to the dogs that were tortured and killed in the pit, or by the hands of their owners, the “rescued” dogs will also die – alone and afraid in the shelters where they get sent after being confiscated. They will have been saved only to fall victim once again, this time to a system that places little value on their lives. Although their method of execution will certainly not be as horrific, the end result is death just the same.
Unfortunately, the nightmare of dog fighting is growing. In addition to the estimated 40,000 professional dog fighters in the United States, those involved in putting on fights and buying and selling fighting dogs, there could be as many as 100,000 additional people involved in “streetfighting” — informal dog fighting, often involving young people in gangs.
Dr. Randall Lockwood, a psychologist and senior vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says that historically dog fighters have never viewed dogs as sentient, feeling creatures. However, he says, there seems to have been a shift recently towards more brutal and vengeful treatment of the animals as dog fighting has been increasingly adopted by gang culture. “Part of the psychology of dog fighting is the same as other forms of animal cruelty – a lot of it is about power and control,” he said.
Add to this the dog fighter’s identification with his animal in the ring – and desire to win “bragging rights” – and the scope for violence is great. “The dog fighter sees his dog’s victory as having a direct reflection on his strength and manliness, which is one of the reasons that we see brutal treatment of animals that don’t perform well,” Dr Lockwood said. “The failure of the animal is seen as a personal failure, an embarrassment, and something where you need to prove your strength and dominance by getting even.”
On top of the other illegal activities that go on at these events, dog fighting affects more than the dogs. Dog fighters or spectators often involve their children in dog fighting. Sadly, this desensitizes children to violence and the suffering of others not only from the exposure, but also because dog fighting is condoned and even glorified by adults and role models. They are taught to believe that violence is entertaining, that it is okay to inflict the cruelties they observe and that dog fighting is an acceptable form of recreation.
According to a 1997 study done by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) and Northeastern University, animal abusers are five times more likely to commit violent crimes against people and four times more likely to commit property crimes than are individuals without a history of animal abuse.
Hat tip – YouDogZone
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