In part I of this two-part series, we discussed the animal cruelty, risk of serious dog bites and public safety risks caused by dog fighting operations. Today we will discuss how to detect and prevent them.
Many communities, even those with a long history of dog fighting, are now aggressively targeting dog fighting operations for a number of reasons. The methods used to raise and train dogs to fight can be extremely cruel, requiring a response on behalf of the animals’ welfare. The public safety consequences of large, organized and clandestine criminal organizations demand a law enforcement response. The tragedy of serious dog bite injuries demands we all do our part to stop it.
It takes a seasoned police investigator to perform a proper investigation of a dog fighting operation. Under no circumstances should private citizens attempt to investigate on their own.
That being said, there are some warning signs you can keep an eye out for. Don’t assume that illegal activity is taking place if you see these signs, but it’s quite common for signs of dog fighting operations to be out in the open. If you see anything that seems suspicious, report it to the police:
1. Signs of multiple, aggressive-seeming dogs being housed in the same location.Note: not all pit bulls, Dobermans or other “scary” dogs are used in fighting or are even dangerous. Dogs that have fought often have fresh wounds and scars in various stages of healing.
2. Signs of fighting dog training, such as training devices, blood spatters, and animal remains on the property. Examples of dog fighting training equipment include treadmills, “catmills” or jennies, spring poles, jump poles, chains, weights, bite sticks and pry bars. Many dog fighters also maintain substantial amounts of veterinary supplies.
3. Signs of matches or dog transport, such as large numbers of people congregating, particularly along with large numbers of portable dog kennels. The matches are often filmed, so filming technology may also be present.
4. Evidence of bookmaking or awards from contests, such as trophies conferring titles like “champion” or “grand champion,” along with betting ledger slips.
5. Ads on the Internet or in local newspapers, which sometimes post match stats, solicit veterinary advice, and buy or sell supplies, as well as to offer fighting dogs for sale or breeding. Classified ads often use terminology such as “game bred” or refer to a breeding dog as a “champion” or “grand champion.”
6. Underground dog fighting publications such as The Sporting Dog Journal, Your Friend and Mine, American Game Dog Times, The Scratch Line, Face Your Dogs, The Pit Bull Chronicle, The Pit Bull Reporter and The American Warrior.
Dog bites by trained fighting dogs are much less common than bites by family pets, but they can be extremely serious. Trained dogs are more likely than pets to bite repeatedly and aggressively. To prevent these tragedies, end the mistreatment of these animals, and keep our communities safe, we should all take a stand against dog fighting.
Source: Animal Legal and Historical Center, Michigan State University College of Law, “What are the signs that someone might be running a dogfighting operation?” Hanna Gibson, 2005