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National Dog Fighting Awareness Day


Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 05:16 pm

National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

In 2014, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals designated April 8th as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day, as a part of its Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month campaign. This unofficial holiday might not be cause for celebration, but it is absolutely a call to action. The spirt of National Dog Fighting Awareness Day asks each of us to increase our vigilance and share our knowledge with others about this awful crime. 

And that’s precisely what your friends at DoggoTalko intend to do today, so read on. 

Let’s talk about something serious. Something dangerous. Something criminal. Let’s talk about dogfighting. 

Many of us assume dog fighting goes on in seedy back alleys, perpetrated by the underbelly of society. And while it’s true that people who endorse and participate in dog fights are deplorable, chances are, they’re just as unassuming and average in every other way as anyone else. 

brown/black dog and white dog fighting

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 dogfighting activities so that authorities could step in and bring this horrific form of animal abuse to an end. –  Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA

Dogfighting is the ultimate betrayal of loving animals.  We need to break the chain of violence associated with dogfighting and bring this brutal form of cruelty to an end.  –  Sir Patrick Stewart

What is Dog Fighting?

Dog fighting is cruel blood sport where pets are forced to fight, often to the point of horrible injury or even death, for the pleasure of their human owners. People typically bet on the dogs beforehand, making this not only a heartless act, but one from which criminals financially benefit. 

Many people will try to convince you that certain breeds, like pitbulls, are bred to fight. That could not be further from the truth (for more on dispelling that fallacy, check out our previous myth-busting blog post on pitbulls here).

These dogs are trained from a young, impressionable age to be aggressive. It is not somehow magically a part of their genetics. It is not even in their nature. It is a disgusting, learned behavior brought on by human owners who do not care even the slightest ounce about their dog’s wellbeing. 

What Kind of Person Becomes a Dog Fighter?

Chances are, you’ve met one. There’s no special characteristic that makes someone a model dog fighter personality. Anyone from anywhere can obtain a puppy from their local mill and raise it to brawl other canines for cash. But in general, once someone enters the world of dog fighting, they fall into one of three categories:

  • The Hobbyist. This person doesn’t make their living off the sport. But that doesn’t stop them from neglecting their animal and forcing it into conflict when the opportunity for an easy dollar presents itself. 
  • The Street Fighter. This person tends to have more invested in the sport than your average degenerate. They abuse their dog or a group of dogs, and usually come upon local fights sporadically, without much pre-planning. 
  • The Professional. This person is part of an organized, undetected crime syndicate determined to increase their own position of economic power through dogfighting. They run rings, organize tournaments, and manage the books. They are the worst of the worst. 

Where Does Dog Fighting Go Down? 

The short answer? Anywhere and everywhere. Although, some locations are more detectable than others. Abandoned houses, vacant garages, isolated warehouses, or other condemned properties are ideal, as they are less likely to be visited by law enforcement or members of the surrounding communities. 

But rundown structures aren’t the only places dog fighting happens. Commercial and residential basements, secluded parks and recreation centers, and even barnyards are some of the more popular places for organized dogfighting rings to host their events. And believe us when we say, these events are highly attended.  

Dog Fighting Statistics

What Kind of Dog Becomes a Fighter?

It’s like we mentioned before – no dog is born with the natural instinct to fight. They are molded slowly over time, gradually adopting aggressive behaviors that make them the right temperament for the sport. 

The practice of training a dog to fight is cruel and unusual, to say the least. Dogs are often isolated, forced to wear heavy, loud chains, live outside and experience harsh changes in climate, and some are even starved. More cruel practices include forcing dogs to run on treadmills, baiting them with smaller prey items to encourage a predatory instinct, maiming the likes of cropping their ears or tails, physical abuse, and more. 

Before a fight, dogs are fed narcotics to increase their pain threshold. As such, dogs will continue to fight through even the worst injuries, not realizing their worsening state until it’s too late. And when a dog finally succumbs to its wounds, their loathsome owners leave them for dead. 

How Can You Spot Possible Signs of Dog Fighting? 

If someone is engaged in a dogfighting ring, chances are, they’re going to do their best to hide it. After all, they’re perpetuating a crime of the most inhumane variety. However, there are still some ways in which you can determine if a pet is the victim of dogfighting:

  • New injuries and scars all over the body, particularly the face.
  • Possibly has lips and ears torn off.
  • Long periods of outdoor activity, with no shelter, food, water, or human interaction. 
  • Exceptional aggressiveness when approached.
  • The onset of sudden weakness following a suspicious period of absence from the home or yard. 

There are other ways to determine if someone you know is engaging in dogfighting, such as a rapid increase in their affluence, new dogs every few weeks or months, no daily walking routine, evasive behavior when asked about where they adopted their pet, and other social cues. 

The key to identifying whether a dog is the victim of someone using it for fighting is to listen to your intuition. At the very least, reporting abusive or suspicious behavior can help free dogs from hostile homing situations. At best, you might be aiding law enforcement in their efforts to break up a larger dogfighting operation. 

What Should I Do if I Suspect a Dog Fighting Ring? 

First and foremost, never confront a possible dog fighter on your own. If they are indeed raising their pets to be aggressive victims of this horrid act, then they are also criminals. And their blatant disregard for the welfare of their animal and the law means they’re that much more likely to lash out and hurt you, should they feel threatened or suspected.

As with any activity that might be considered a crime, you should feel confident in reporting your suspicions to the local authorities. If you are uncomfortable with calling the police, you can also reach out to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals at 757-622-7382

Help Put a Stop to Dog Fighting This April

National Dog Fighting Awareness Day is a great opportunity to share what you know (or what you learned from this blog) with your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. Just remember that diligence for one day out of the year is not going to stop this heinous crime. To fully eliminate dog fighting, we as loving pet parents must be proactive all year round in educating our communities and calling out bad owner behavior when we see it. 

If we work hard and work together, we can finally put a stop to dogfighting. 

Disclosure: If you suspect dogfighting, contact your local authorities immediately. Do NOT approach anyone suspected of being involved with dogfighting.


How Long Does a Dog Fight Typically Last?

A typical dog fight lasts between 1 to 2 hours. Typically until both dogs are exhausted and at least one is seriously injured or dead.

Is Dog Fighting Illegal in all 50 States in the US?

Yes. As well as in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Which State Has the Most Dog Fighting?

North Carolina is one of the top States.


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