America’s Dog Fighting Industry Unfortunately Still as Strong as Ever

Pittbull in cage

Our society considers dog fighting as a taboo because it is a clear act of animal cruelty, which is against our morals. But did you know that long time ago during the Roman Empire, dog fighting was a sport? In 43 A.D. when the Romans occupied Britain, they were amazed by the British fighting dogs’ aggressiveness. Then they imported the British canines to Italy and used them in war and entertaining the public. Gladiator dog is the term they used to describe a canine who fight against other animals such as wild elephants. The Romans crossbred the British fighting dogs and exported them throughout Western Europe including Britain.

Right after the Civil war, the new British fighting dogs found its way to the US. They were crossbred again creating a new breed that is popularly known as American Pit Bull Terrier. Dog fighting gained popularity right away in America. In the late 1860’s, most states outlawed dog fighting. Unfortunately, the ban didn’t stop it from gaining popularity worldwide. Currently, it is a huge underground industry in the United States.

Dog fighting is rampant and a big problem all over America. Sadly, this form of animal cruelty is an entertainment to some people who doesn’t have the heart to love and respect animals. In dog fighting industry, dogs are forced to fight for both entertainment and financial gain. From the Midwest to Upstate New York, this illegal activity seems to be operating everywhere these days. It’s a sign that this industry is very much alive in the US.

Tim Rickey, the Vice President of ASPCA and the leader of Field Investigations and Response rescue animals who are treated poorly. Rickey works with investigators to expose illegal dog fighting operations in the country. In 2009, his team and the authorities cracked down the largest ring in US history, the Missouri 500. In this bust, a total of 500 illegally confined canines were released from eight different states. Hundreds of dogs were recovered from the busts most of them are Pit Bulls.

The demography of people involved in dog fighting came from all walks of life, from poor to the rich and famous. An example was the case of Michael Vick, the famous NFL quarterback who was convicted for dog fighting in 2007. Vick’s case brought awareness of dog fighting to the public, which was followed by a wide demand of giving fighting dogs a second chance to live, instead of being euthanized.

Aditi Terpstra rehabilitates fighting dogs. Rescued canines are sent to rehab centers temporarily while waiting for their case’s decision. During the waiting period the dogs are being tested for adoptability—if a canine pass the test, he is going to be released to adoption shelters. According to Terpstra, about 40% of these dogs are deemed okay for adoption and the other 60% are euthanized because they are feared to be very aggressive.

We, the people can help prevent the dog fighting industry from flourishing by being proactive. Some of the dog fighting signs includes: dog with ripped ears and visible scars, chained to a heavy log chains. Also, take note of group of dogs coming and going often from one location. So if you notice any of the above signs contact the authorities in your area.

Image via crossfirecw at

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