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By Terry Ambrose, Writer & Ardent Animal Advocate

August 12, 2017

Animal Cruelty Laws Dogfighting Pitbulls

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History of a Barbaric Blood Sport

Dogfighting is an evil blood sport that violates animal cruelty laws. It has become popular in poor areas throughout the US after the Civil War. Citizens and police viewed dogfighting as leisure. Even the United Kennel Club (UKC) endorsed dogfighting by developing rules. The UKC also approved referees. Under pressure by the ASPCA, lawmakers passed anti-fighting and cruelty laws. This forced the UKC to withdraw its support to the “sport”.

Sadly, dogfighting continues to thrive as an organized crime, although it has been a felony in every state since 2008.  Experts believe dogfighting is a $500 million dollar industry. Over 40,000 known dogfight professionals operate in the United States. The FBI names dogfighting a “Class A felony” (on par with homicide and arson). Participants now receive stricter sentences. Despite these measures, it continues to grow in popularity.

Dogs used for dogfighting lead a life of pain and misery.

The Tragic Life of a Fighting Dog

  • Fighting dogs are subject to a lifetime of suffering.  Often they have no outdoor shelter. They live in isolation. Often, they suffer physical and mental abuse. They lack vet care. In addition, there is drugging and overbreeding.
  • Names of Pitbulls: The American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bulldog. Pitbull Mixes include Presa Canario and American Pit Bull Terrier. The American Staffordshire Terrier and the American Pit Bull come from the same lineage, but the American Kennel Club title it the “American Pit Bull Terrier”. Dogfighting participants refer to their dogs as ‘gaming dogs’ in an attempt to deny their tie to the blood sport.
  • Fighting dog breeders and professional dogfighters often rely on the online breed registries and social media to market dogs. These criminals use selective breeding to produce physical and mental extremes in their dogs.
  • Small time dogfighters often get dogs from shelters, ads, and Craigslist.
  • Although dogfighting has been a felony in every state since 2008, it continues to flourish as an underground organized crime.
  • These criminals are not above stealing pets, so it is dangerous to leave a pet unsupervised outside. Of course, fences do not stop dog thieves. Electric collars, besides being cruel, can only keep your dog in your yard. They don’t keep thieves from entering your yard and taking your pet.

Born Into Misery

Dog fighters overbreed their females. They use rape stands to protect the sires. The mothers often receive no vet care. She lives in the same poor conditions as the rest of the fighting dogs.

Pit Mom


Training begins at birth to determine a puppy’s “gameness”. Trainers lift young puppies off the ground by one ear. A puppy that resists the abuse is known to have “game”. Heavy chains are attached to the fight dogs collars once they can bear the weight. That is done to develop neck and upper body strength. Trainers use monstrous training methods to build strength and speed with their fight dogs.

Trainers often use puppies unfit for the fighting ring as bait to train top fighting dogs.   Dogfighting breeders, trainers, and fighters use social media to further the trade. As well, YouTube publishes fighting dog conditioning videos. In addition, training manuals, rule books, and online breed registries are readily available on the Internet. 

Fight organizers keep fight locations secret. Identities of the referees and handlers are private. Attendees are carefully vetted to prevent infiltration by law enforcement. Criminal dog trainers use extreme measures to keep out animal welfare officials, the press, and animal activists from attending dogfights.


Trainers use defenseless animals as bait to incite the ‘prey drive’ in fighting dogs. Dogs in training often kill the bait animal.  Bait animals may be wild or domestic animals. It is said trainers often use up to 3 bait (wild or domestic) animals per day for each fighting dog. Trainers used Oogy as a bait dog at 10 weeks old and he weighed only 20 lbs. It’s so heartbreaking to see the fight and bait animals.

Bait Dog
Bait Pup

Michael Vick’s Dogfighting Survivors

Pit Bulls are no more dangerous than any other breed. Many dogs taken from Vick’s property were ready to go to  foster homes right away.

American Pit Bull
Pit and Family
Guy an Pit on lawn
Pit being Hugged