It began eons before Michael Vick and it continues to this day.
It happens in grungy garages, playgrounds, barnyards, condemned buildings and in the piss-and-grease alleyways most of us will never see.
It is a contest between two animals who have nothing against each other, but who were bread to be combatants. Left to their own devices – and with a little structure and love – they would probably much rather fetch a Frisbee or chill on the couch than gouge one another with tooth and nail.
Some of the animals are trained with repeated lashes to their loins. Others are seared with blow torches until their spines are flayed open. Many are starved. All to incite a hunger beyond food, beyond blood.
The “winner” of the battle will be paraded by his handler as a scarred badge of honor; he will “live” to fight another day (though the quality of his life is arguably zero). Meanwhile, the “loser” may be beaten, shot or even tied to railroad tracks. To live, one must keep winning.
Dog fighting is nothing new. When the Romans defeated Britain in 43 A.D., they adopted the English passion for massive Mastiffs and strove to breed ever-larger and more ferocious versions. These dogs were pitted against other animals and gladiators during Coliseum spectacles. Rome later exported fighting dogs to Spain and Gaul (France). Though the blood sport made its way back to England, it was ultimately banned by the Humane Act of 1835. Given the small “pit” space needed for dog fighting, however, the ban proved difficult to enforce.
America’s passion for dog fighting swelled before and after the Civil War and was at one time even promoted by the Police Gazette which served as a source for fight venues. Thanks to the efforts of ASPCA’s founder, Henry Bergh, New York’s animal cruelty laws were revised to make all animal fighting illegal.
Even in this day as companion animals enjoy unprecedented legal protections – dog fighting is a felony offense in all 50 states – pit bulls and other breeds continue to suffer and die because of the blood lust of degenerates and thugs hooked on ego and vicarious violence.
In the spirit of Henry Bergh, Rescue Legacy urges its readers to support ASPCA’s National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, today, April 8.
Working in concert with the Department of Justice, the ASPCA is engaged in a fight of its own: to raid and break up cruel and illegal dog fighting rings, prosecute the offenders to the full extent of the law, rehabilitate the rescued dogs and ultimately find them forever homes.
Go to www.aspca.org/dogfighting to learn how you can “Get Tough” on dog fighting; today and every day.
Dog fighting; them is fightin’ words . . .
“Dog Baiting” artwork by Azim Azimzade, 1938