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Articles Tagged with: dog fighting
Investigating Animal “Blood Sports”

Recognizing National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

The ASPCA designated April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day  to increase understanding and awareness about dog fighting. We encourage animal-lovers to take action against all blood sports, an extremely brutal form of cruelty.

What are “blood sports”? Blood sports are defined as an illegal sport or contest involving the bloodshed of animals for the purpose of gambling or entertainment, and include:

        • Dog fighting is a brutal sport or contest in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit/ring to fight one another for the purposes of entertainment and gambling. The fight ends when one dog can’t continue due to exhaustion, injury, or death. ASPCA experts estimate that there are tens of thousands of dog fighters across the country forcing hundreds of thousands of dogs to brutally train, fight, and suffer as part of a so-called “blood sport”.
        • Street fighting is an impromptu altercation between two dogs instigated by their respective owners or gangs in either a private location or common public gathering area, such as school yards, parks, or abandoned buildings. In some cases, the owner encourages their dog to attack a stray.
        • Cockfighting is a sport in which two gamecocks (roosters), specifically bred for aggressiveness, are placed in a small ring and encouraged to fight to the death. Owners often will inject doses of stimulant drugs, hormones, or vitamins to increase endurance and attach knives to the gamecocks’ legs.
        • Finch fighting is a sport between two male and one female perched birds that has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. Owners typically attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure the female finch’s demise.

Our Law Enforcement team works with animal control officers to identify signs of blood sports. Here are 3 common warning signs:

        1. Dogs kept on short heavy chains or tethered to makeshift dog houses
        2. Several crates, tethering devices, and specialized aerobic training equipment such as treadmills kept in basements and sheds
        3. Dogs with lots of scaring around the face, neck, front legs and chest

Whether you live in a rural, suburban, or urban neighborhood, animal “blood sports” happens in all types of areas across the country, including Massachusetts.

Blood sports are a major concern for public safety as it’s often linked with gang activity and other serious crimes such as human assault, homicide, drug possession/distribution, and illegal gambling.

Based on the ARL Law Enforcement team’s experience, building an effective legal case against this type of crime is complicated, due to the multitude of individuals, groups, and gangs that can be involved. Fighting animals – especially dogs – are bred in Massachusetts and transported to other states to fight, making it very difficult to track the activity.

Read Turtle’s Story: From Bait Dog to Therapy Dog and Lobbyist

How can communities prevent blood sports from happening?

        1. Animal control officers and humane investigators focus on breaking up an animal fighting enterprise and immediately remove animals from the situation.
        2. You can help raise awareness and encourage intervention; both are critical to preventing this type of crime before it occurs

We ALL have a role to play in prevention. Report suspicions of animal cruelty and learn more about what you can do at arlboston.org/take-action.


See Something, Say Something: Understanding The Effects of “Blood Sports” on Animals

If you see signs of blood sports, you say something – how you can help animals

As part of our “See Something, Say Something – Report Animal Cruelty” public awareness campaign this month, we are focusing on the topic of “blood sports.”

A dog who is a victim of the illegal blood sports known as “dog fighting” and “street fighting” suffers just as much on the inside as he does on the outside.

We sat down with Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, the ARL’s vice president of animal welfare, to learn more about the effects of blood sports on the animals involved.

blood sports

Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore, ARL’s Vice President of Animal Welfare, hosted a talk in January on dog fighting by the ASPCA’s Terry Mills in conjunction with the New England Federation of Humane Societies

ARL Blog: What are some common physically identifying signs of a fighting dog?

Dr. Smith: Fighting dogs end up bearing many scars, usually clustered around the face, neck, front legs and chest. Dogs can also suffer much more severe injuries such as broken bones and disfigurement of their ears, snouts, etc.

The scars that are visible on the outside of a fighting dog are only the tip of the iceberg in what the dog has suffered.

ARL Blog: What generally happens to the “winner” – or worse yet – the “loser” in a dog fight?

Dr S: Dogs who “win” will fight again and again, earning higher stakes with each victory.

Dogs who “lose” have a much sadder fate. They have been discovered on the side of the road, floating in the harbor, and in the garbage.  They can die shortly after the fight from trauma, but more commonly they die from a lack of appropriate veterinary attention to their wounds.

Ultimately, all dogs become the “loser” and thus find themselves abused multiple times: by inhumane housing and emotional neglect, by the fights themselves, by the life threatening infections they develop, and by the cruel deaths they suffer at the hands of their owners.

ARL Blog: What are some other “blood sports” that people should be aware of and what are the physical effects on the animals involved?

Dr S: Cockfighting (two roosters) and finch fighting (perching birds) are common in Massachusetts.

During Cockfighting between two gamecocks, owners will inject a toxic form of pesticide to increase their endurance and often attach knives to the bird’s legs. Every fight ends in serious injury or death, often for both of the birds involved.

Finch fighting between two male and one female bird has become increasingly popular due to the birds’ small size, docile nature, and ease of transport. During finch fighting the owner will attach blades to the males’ feet and sharpen their beaks to ensure maximum injury to the female finch which ultimately results in their demise.

Learn more about signs of dog-related blood sports