Report Dog Fighting

Humane Society offers $5,000 reward in the war against dog fighting.

What is dog fighting?

Although it is a felony offense in all 50 states, organized dog fighting still takes place in many parts of the country. Historical accounts date as far back as the 1750s, with professional fighting pits proliferating in the 1860s.

As with any other illegal underground activity, it is impossible to determine how many people may be involved in dog fighting but shelter reports and law enforcement officials suggest that the number of people involved in dog fighting in the U.S. is in the tens of thousands, with the Internet making it easier for dog fighters to exchange information about animals and fights.

Which dogs are used in dog fighting?

Many breeds of dogs are used for fighting worldwide including the Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, the Tosa Inu and the Presa Canario. The dog of choice for fighting in the U.S. is the American Pit Bull Terrier.

This does not mean that the pit bull is unsuitable as a family pet. Any dog can behave aggressively, depending on genetics and upbringing. When a dog is treated well and socialized during puppyhood, he’s likely to develop into a cherished pet.

What is a “bait” dog

“Bait” dogs are used to test a dog’s fighting instinct; they are often mauled or killed in the process. Often other animals can be used as “bait” including stolen pets, puppies, kittens, rabbits, small dogs and even livestock. Many times pit bulls are acquired by the dog fighting ring who appear to be passive or less dominant because they make ideal bait dogs. Other sources for bait animals include wildlife or feral animals, or animals obtained from “free to good home” ads.

Why don’t more cases come to light?

Dog fighting is a violent and highly secretive enterprise that is extremely difficult for law enforcement and investigative professionals to infiltrate. A dog fight investigation requires many of the same skills and resources as a major undercover narcotics investigation, and challenges the resources of any agency that seeks to respond to it.

An additional complication is that the evidence likely to be seized in a raid includes the dogs — living creatures who must be taken care of and maintained while the judicial process unfolds. Most prosecutors would be happy to take on every dog fight case they could, but they are limited by the human and animal care resources available to them.

Is there dog fighting in Delta County?

Yes. There are several locations in Delta County where dog fighting is believed to occur, and where occasional citations and arrests have happened. Like most law enforcement agencies and shelters, Delta County faces the difficulty of investigating dog fighting rings and lack the budget to house dogs while offenders are prosecuted. So called “evidence dogs” can languish in a shelter for months, due to lengthy court proceedings, before being released and made available for adoption.

What can I do?

• Prevention starts with education. Teach your children about the humane care of all animals. Talk to friends and coworkers about what to do if animal neglect or abuse is witnessed or suspected. Tell them to take detailed notes and photos, and call local law enforcement, immediately. CAWS is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone that offers information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any person found guilty of dog fighting in Delta County. Call our Center at 970-874-1078 if you have detailed information. The Humane Society of American offers a $5,000 reward.Visit their special website for more information.

• Ask your legislators to toughen animal cruelty laws and provide funding to local government so that they may devote necessary resources. Call your County Commissioners and ask them to make animal control a priority in Delta County!

• Support your local shelter or rescue organization: Donate time, money or in-kind goods and services; and ADOPT FIRST!