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Dog Fighting: The Pit of Despair

By: Renae Hamrick, RVT

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All 50 states, Washington D.C., the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico have declared dog fighting illegal. In Idaho and Wyoming, it is a misdemeanor; it is a felony everywhere else. Even those who are simply watching a dog fight for entertainment can be persecuted in 48 states. Being a spectator is only legal in Georgia and Hawaii.

The Animal Fighting Prohibition Act, passed by the Senate on April 10, 2007 and signed by President Bush on May 3, 2007 is a huge landmark in the crackdown on animal cruelty. According to the Humane Society of the United States, this bill "provides felony penalties for interstate commerce, import and export related to animal fighting activities, including commerce in cockfighting weapons. It will make it much harder for criminals who engage in dogfighting and cockfighting to continue their operations."

How Dog Fighting Affects You

You may live in a seemingly safe neighborhood where you have never seen any sign of animal fighting. Even in the most innocent of communities, you should always be careful. People involved in animal fighting will steal pets to use in their cruel activities. Supervise your pets when they are outdoors, and be cautious of strangers. If your pet spends time in a fenced area, lock the entrances.

Poor breeding and socialization amongst fighting dogs are leading to increasing attacks of dogs on humans. A poorly bred dog in a shelter or a stray on the street from a bloodline of fighting dogs may be a threat to the innocent people around him. Street fighting dogs may be a threat when out for a walk or at the park.

What You Can Do

If you are appalled by the practices of dog fighting, please do your part to help end the suffering. Every voice counts. Listed below are several ways to help.

1. Write letters to state legislators in Idaho and Wyoming to make dog fighting a felony, and write to legislators in Hawaii and Georgia to make being a spectator illegal.

2. Educate the public and spread awareness of animal fighting cruelty.

3. Be alert to suspicious situations in your neighborhood, and do NOT be afraid to report them to law enforcement.

4. Contact the Humane Society of the United States to receive educational posters about the cruelties of dog fighting. These posters can be displayed in public locations to spread awareness.

5. Donate your time and money to your local Humane Society. Help provide them with the resources to rescue these suffering dogs.


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