Wednesday, August 7, 2013

• Dog Fighting Doesn't Affect Me. Or Does It?

ASPCA Dog Fighting exhibit, with Dr. Randall Lockwood (right)
Below: How to TAKE ACTION

Before I saw an ASPCA exhibit about dog fighting, I would have said I wasn't directly affected by it. Now I'm not so sure.

"Dog Fighting: The Voiceless Victims" laid out horrifying tools of this unspeakable, brutal blood sport. A "rape" stand that immobilizes female dogs so they can be bred. A collar with sharp nails that antagonize a fighting dog. Skeletal remains of animals found at crime scenes.

"We want people to realize the brutality of dog fighting and see that it's the greatest violation of the human-animal bond," says Dr. Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of ASPCA Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects. In May 2013 Dr. Lockwood lead a tour through the temporary exhibit, at the Crime Museum in Washington, D.C., for several attendees of BlogPaws 2013, a social media conference for pet professionals. (The exhibit is now closed.)

One solution is the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. When I think about dog fights, I think of organizers, promoters, animal owners—Michael Vick, for example. Spectators are another key component. They may travel long distances to see a fight or gamble on it. If a fight is raided, principals can escape into the crowd. The Act would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight; major players could be apprehended.

Members of ASPCA Government Relations staff brief BlogPaws guests
The Act would also enforce fines for forcing a minor to attend fights. That's right. Some spectators bring children. A child who watches a bloody, violent dog fight can be traumatized. A child surrounded by the culture of criminal activity around dog fighting—drugs, weapons, gambling, more—could, himself, become a criminal.

I live in Fairfax County, Va., near the nation's capital. I thought dog fighting occurred in inner cities or rural areas. Yet in 2012 a potential dog-fighting ring was found in Fairfax Co.; law enforcement fears there may be more. My tax dollars are used for dog fighting. Children and animals in my community may have been victims.

TAKE ACTION in 2015!
April 8 is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day. You can take action!
• Ask the Department of Justice to #GetTough on dog fighters by creating harsher sentencing guidelines. Fill out this quick form and let the DOJ know that you support prosecution of this horrific form of cruelty.
• Visit the ASPCA's Fight Cruelty section to learn about its work against dog fighting
• Download a #GetTough kit on dog fighting
• See "Three Ways to Stop Dog Fighting that Take Three Minutes."


  1. This is very powerful. Thank you. Bringing up that tax dollars are wasted in shutting down dog fighting is a great way to get even non-dog people to ACT!

    1. Thank you. When I want people to take action, I think WIIFM—what's in it for me? People have to be affected to care about something, I believe. That's just human nature.

  2. When I think about these horrible people that fight dogs I get so mad. I can't believe how some people can be so evil, and do something like that. I hope that they all get the punishment they deserve!

    1. It's hard to imagine dog fighting as a sport. I hope the Animal Fighting Spectator Act is passed. Legislation and the outrage of people like you can help end the problem.

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  4. Very brutal act misinterpreted as a sport - sad, and unsettling. Something has to be done.

  5. Such a barbaric act. Thank you for heightening our awareness today.