Dog fighting is an atrocious and cruel underground "sport". It was once considered aristocratic and was embraced by medieval societies. It continued on through colonial and Victorian times. It is now against the law in the United States. Even with laws in place it has reached epidemic proportions and thrives in almost all areas of society - urban, rural, impoverished, rich - and it's participants range from street thugs to sitting judges. Street gangs use the barbaric sport to desensitize children to violence and speed their introduction to gang life. Often they will be given a dog to care for only to have it thrown in the ring so they can watch it be torn apart. They become so conditioned to this that it becomes normal to them. Law enforcement is starting to take dogfighting more seriously the more apparent it has become that with dogfighting there is usually gambling, guns, and drugs.

Very often random dogs will be stolen from yards and used as "bait" to train the fighters. They will usually have their muzzles duct taped so they can't defend themselves and the dog being trained will be allowed to attack at will. It's not unusual for cats to be used as well, sometimes hung from a tree in a pillowcase. With larger breeds it's not unusual for the "trainers" to break a limb on the bait dog to leave it even more vulnerable. Dogs are trained from a very young age to develop their "gameness". The dogs are often beaten, starved, drugged, and constantly antagonized to promote aggression toward other dogs. Some types of equipment used in training might be a treadmill, heavy chains to build chest muscles, weights to hang from necks, springpoles, etc. Many "dogmen" also use growth hormones on the dogs. Once trained they will be pitted against a stronger dog to test their gameness.

Fights can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 3 hours. They are held in "pits" that are generally about 14 feet by 20 feet and constructed out of wood. Rules depend on the level of the match. In street fighting anything can go while rules are strictly adhered to in upper levels. The match ends when a dog dies or quits, is pulled by the handler, the dog jumps out of the pit, or there is a raid by police. Dogs that quit are usually killed. Killing the loser can be done by a gunshot to the head or, when the owner takes the loss more personally, in far more brutal ways. Dogs have been found electrocuted, drowned, beaten to death, and burned to death. Some of these methods were witnessed in the Michael Vick case.

The sport is barbaric. Violence begets violence. These animals are trained to fight through horrific methods. Puppies are often kicked and beaten then thrown at another dog. These dogs don't ask to fight but it is in the nature of the pit bull to do anything to please its master. These dogs fight through unimaginable pain, often with broken limbs, half their faces torn away, but when they hear the voice of their master you can see their tails wag. They only want to make humans happy. What kind of human being does this to a dog? Takes this kind of advantage of unquestioning loyality and love?

This picture was found on a dogfighting site. This is the life of a fighting dog.



"His face is a mass of deep cuts, as are his shoulders and neck. Both of his front legs have been broken, but Billy Bear isn’t ready to quit. At the referee’s signal, his master releases him, and unable to support himself on his front legs, he slides on his chest across the blood and urine stained carpet, propelled by his good hind legs, toward the opponent who rushes to meet him. Driven by instinct, intensive training and love for the owner who has brought him to this moment, Billy Bear drives himself painfully into the other dog’s charge... Less than 20 minutes later, rendered useless by the other dog, Billy Bear lies spent beside his master, his stomach constricted with pain. He turns his head back toward the ring, his eyes glazed (sic) searching for a last look at the other dog as (sic) receives a bullet in his brain."

C.M. Brown, Pit, Atlanta Magazine, 1982, at 66.



“The dog had been doused with a flammable liquid, set on fire and flames had ravaged one-third of her body. Shriveled and burnt like a hamburger fallen through a grill, the pit bull's skin was weak, but it clung to her bones. When she sat down, the bones in her leg pierced through her charbroiled skin…The dog was no doubt a loser in a dogfight… and the owner expressed his anger by setting her on fire.”

Adam Gibbs, Illegal Dog Fighting Rings Difficult to Catch, Daily Kent Stater, February 18, 2003