Tomorrow is National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, which was launched in 2014 by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
“National Dog Fighting Awareness Day sheds a light on the prevalence of this crime in America and encourages people to take action by learning how to recognize and report suspected dog fighting activities so that authorities could step in and bring this horrific form of animal abuse to an end,” explained Tim Rickey, the vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.
Even though dogfighting has been considered a felony offense for 13 years, the activity still runs rampant. According to ASPCA, there has been an increase in this form of animal abuse as of late, as “the Internet [is] making it easier than ever for dogfighters to exchange information about animals and fights.”
Dogs of varying breeds have been forced into fights with the most common being the American Pit Bull Terrier. This, unfortunately, is one of the reasons that pits are stigmatized. However, with proper treatment and training, pit bulls can be “well-behaved companions and cherished members of the family,” as reported by the ASPCA. We at the Gentle Pit can personally attest to this!
The process of dogfighting is incredibly upsetting. Dogfighting victims are emotionally neglected and are, typically, forced to be “on short, heavy chains” at all times. They are sometimes even given “anabolic steroids to enhance muscle mass and encourage aggressiveness.” During the fights, the dogs sustain serious injuries that may ultimately lead to death. In addition, dogs who lose are “often discarded, killed or simply left with their injuries untreated.”
Fortunately, dogs rescued from these horrible circumstances have been rehabilitated. For instance, 47 out of the 51 dogs seized from former NFL player Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring in 2007 were able to live out incredible lives, as reported by the Washington Post. Unfortunately, four of the dogs did not survive before they were rehomed, but only one was “euthanized for behavioral reasons.”
25 of the dogs were put into foster homes, and many of them were eventually adopted. The remaining pups, who were deemed more difficult, were taken care of at the Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary, located in Utah.
image courtesy of BestFriends.org