Some people find entertainment at the expense of animals. While dog fighting is one of the more popular cruelties, it does not get the attention it should.Dog fighting by professionals and the upper classes was viewed as a taunting but acceptable pastime in earlier time, according to aspca.org. Because it is much less accepted now, it has become an underground activity. Defeated dogs are killed and dumped. Stolen dogs and cats are used to train other fighting dogs.
“Dog fighters represent a range of personality types and psychological disorders,” says Stephanie LaFarge, Ph.D., Senior Director, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Counseling Services.
“Self-esteem is an important issue with this population,” said Officer Mark MacDonald, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement special investigator.”Fighting gives them the respect and power that they do not have in other areas of their lives. “Many fighters come from non-responsive homes and communities with limited social or economic opportunity,” he continued. “They never acquire the tools to excel. With dog fighting, they are accepted, especially if they have a winning dog. Well known and respected in their circle, they are emulated by others. They gain a tremendous satisfaction and positive reinforcement from their new ‘friends.’ And because of their commitment to the care and training of their dog, their dog is a winner, and so are they.”Although some people may characterize dog fighting as result of an urban upbringing, not every dog fighter is economically unstable.
In July 2007, Michel Vick was indicted by the federal government in connection with a dog fighting operation that allegedly took place at his home in Virginia. He was charged with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal-fighting venture. While Vick spent time in a federal prison, it also raised awareness of the cruelty to animals.
Organizations such as the ASPCA are focused on the proper treatment of animals.Animals can be helpless victims because they cannot voice the abuse they are encountering. There are people who choose to abuse animals simply for this reason.
Over the past 15 to 20 years, dog fighting has evolved. Dogfights have become more frequent despise raids, arrests and jail time. There are several types of dog fighting.
“Street” fighters engage in dogfights informally on a street corner or back alley. The rules are stripped and are initiated by insults, turf invasion or a simple taunt.”Hobbyist” fighters are more organized and frequently participate in the fights.
They use them for both entertainment and income. They are more concerned with the care of their dog and are willing to travel more.
“Professional” dogfighters usually have many animals and earn money from breeding, selling and fighting dogs at a central location. They are more interested in winning bloodlines and long-term condition of the animal. They regularly dispose of unsuccessful fighters by shooting and using blunt force trauma.
According to the ASPCA because it is “a highly violent and secretive enterprise that is extremely difficult for law enforcement and investigate professionals to infiltrate,” dog fighting is not as publicized. “A dogfight investigation requires many of the same skills and resources as a major undercover narcotics investigation, and challenges the resources of any agency that seeks to respond to it.”
Most prosecutors would be wiling to take on dog fighting cases but the human and animal care resources available limit them.
All animal cruelty can be stopped. The first step is to alert authorities if you suspect any animal cruelty. The ASPCA recommends the formation of local or state task forces to address dog fighting. The group should be familiar with the problem and be able to identify the nature of the problems in the area.
The ASPCA said, “Dog fighting is most effectively addressed by a collaborative approach to this heinous crime.