Dog fighting is an illegal practice in which two dogs, usually of a Pit Bull breed, are put into an enclosed area for the purpose of attacking and quite frequently, killing each other.
Spectators bet on which dog will win. On average, fights last about one hour, but sometimes last two hours or longer. The fight does not end until one of the dogs is no longer able or willing to continue fighting.
The fights usually result in severe injuries. It is not uncommon for one or both dogs to die. A dog that is not killed in a fight may still die of blood loss, shock, infections, or exhaustion after the fight has ended. If they live, they may still suffer broken bones and crushed cartilage. Many fighters will kill a dog that loses, simply because they do not want to develop a reputation for breeding inferior quality dogs.
Dogs that are used for fighting are usually subjected to severe abuse in order to make them vicious. Some stolen animals are used in dog fighting. There have been cases of animal shelters being robbed of many large dogs, such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, at one time. These dogs are chosen because they have exceptionally strong jaws. The dogs actually used in fighting are not the only animals abused. Stolen pets, such as cats or smaller dogs, are used as bait or for practice. Occasionally, pets taken from free to good home ads are used for the same purpose.
Dogs that are trained for fighting, because they are trained to be vicious, can be very dangerous to humans. Children are especially at risk. Their smaller size can cause the dogs to mistake them for the animals they have been trained to maul and kill.
The sole purpose for this sick practice is profit and "entertainment". Spectators make bets on which dogs will win. The owners of the dogs are also paid. The majority of dogfights occur in private settings but it does occasionally happen on the street.
Dogs that are rescued from a fighting environment pose a problem to shelters and rescues. They have been trained to be animal aggressive and cannot be adopted out because the threat to public safety is too high. These dogs will never live as companion animals. If their fate is to be euthanized, most still end up living in cages for several months or longer because they are considered evidence. Living in a cage at a shelter is an improvement for most in comparison to the treatment they have received, but it is still a far cry from a normal life for a companion animal.
Please help stop dog fighting! If you witness or suspect dog fighting in your area, contact your local law enforcement agency. Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states. It is a felony in 43 states. Signs of possible dog fighting include one or several dogs or puppies chained with weights on their collars, training dogs on suspended tires or other items.