Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Born to Live, Made to Kill

 Dog Paw Keychain 

"Dog fighting is a brutal, sadistic event motivated by barbarism of the worst sort and cruelty of the worst, worst, worst sadistic kind. One is left wondering, who are the real animals... the creatures inside the ring, or the creatures outside the ring." 
- U.S. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, 2007

There are many people out there today and in history who enjoy dog fighting for various reasons. For some it’s the money that can be made or won, for others it’s for the social standing, and others yet it is the entertainment or the thrill of the fight. At one time dog fighting was popular and legal, and even had the support of local animal groups such as the United Kennel Club. However, as civilization has progressed there has been more and more controversy surrounding dog fighting, and in 1976 dog fighting was outlawed in all states in America. 

The controversy surrounding dog fighting is not only about the abuse that the fighting dogs undergo, but it is also about the groups of people who operate and promote dog fighting because oftentimes dog fighting is correlated with other illegal activities such as gambling, drugs, gangs, and other acts of violence. Although all of these other correlated activities are just as important and illegal as dog fighting, my focus in this post will be about what it is like in the life of a fighting dog. 

There are a few main breeds of dogs that are used in dog fighting. Most commonly in the USA, pit bulls are used, but there are a couple other breeds that are often used in other countries. Sadly, the stigma alone is a heavy weight to bear for any pit bull due to the fairly common mindset that pit bulls are somehow bad animals because of those who are raised to be fighting dogs. Personally, I had a pit bull who was an awesome dog and one of the friendliest and most compassionate dogs I've ever known, but I could always see the fear in people’s eyes when meeting him. I am a firm believer that animals, including humans, are products of their environments. Yet, unfortunately, for this breed of dog you will find many communities around this Nation that ban them based on stigma alone. This stigma is bad enough for dogs who were born to be loving companions, but for the dogs breed to be fighting dogs it is another world of pain just to be alive.

The dogs who are breed to fight have a battle from the day they are born. Those who breed dogs to fight raise them to be tough, mean, and ultimately to be killers. To accomplish this, the dogs are trained in harsh conditions. They are tied to heavy car towing chains to make them strong, they are provided with bait animals and taught to kill, and if they don’t succeed at being the toughest, meanest killers, then they are more often than not sentenced to death. I have read articles where the “failures” are shot, hung, left to starve, or baited to the other fighting dogs. 

Baited animals are animals that are put in the fighting ring to give the fighters practice. The baited animals can be rabbits, cats, or other dogs. When other dogs are used they sometimes have their snouts duct taped shut or their teeth removed or filed down so that they can’t fight back, and to give the fighter dog an unfair advantage in the name of gaining experience. These baited animals are oftentimes found in local ads that state, “free to a loving home,” and sometimes they are stolen from their homes or are found wandering the streets as strays. Most commonly they are smaller or weaker dogs to give the fighting dog a challenge with an unfair advantage. Sadly the baited animals are killed by the fighting dog, and just as sad is the fact that the fighting dog is trained to kill, and that means that if they are fortunate enough to get out of the fighting business, they are most likely unadoptable and end up having to be euthanized, a disheartening, tragedy that those who rescue these animals are left to deal with. They are left to clean up the mess and destruction that others create through their own selfishness and lack of consideration.

That is exactly how I view it. The people who breed these dogs, train these dogs, and are entertained by dog fights are selfish and lack consideration not only for other people and dogs, but for life itself. Apparently they see nothing wrong with what they are doing, and for them it’s all for their selfish entertainment, for their greed, and/or from their superfluously inflated, egotistical status quos that are attained from having or betting on a winning dog. These people are out to see blood, to see a fight so brutal that it ends up in death. Perhaps they figure that these animals have no feelings, perhaps they think that it’s ok because it’s “just” a dog’s life. Perhaps they just don’t care. I am of the contention that none of them have a basic respect for life. Bloodlust is not something I comprehend, but then again I never could understand the brutal reaping of innocence, especially to the point that the innocent become monsters themselves. Perhaps those who enjoy and thirst for bloodshed were victims themselves at some point; however, that is no excuse. To me, there is no excuse. We humans are supposed to be above that level of violence due to our abilities to think, reason, analyze, and overcome our primal instincts. Dog fighting is an example of a society gone wrong, and until people stand up and take responsibility for creating the problems that breed such monsters and rehabilitate them, there will continue to be animal “blood sports." 

In closing I would like to reiterate that not all pit bulls were raised to fight, not all pit bulls are dangerous, bloodthirsty fighters, and they should not all be treated as such. I’ve known many who are kind, gentle, compassionate, and are awesome companions. It’s not the dog itself that is bad, they all start out just as innocent; rather it is the environment in which they are raised. 

Together we can create change, and to start we must become aware. Spread the word, watch for signs, report suspicious activity, and don’t get involved or participate in dog fighting. Take care of your pets and don't let them wander, never advertise your animals as "free," and instead of letting them go as strays give them to your local pet shelter or rescue if you can no longer care for them. Let’s get these hateful operations shut down forever!

 Written by Tsilos Schoener


El at Tantalizing Stitches said...

I completely agree. This goes beyond dogs and to all animals. Depending on the region of the world you go to, you can find dog fighting, cock fighting, and any other kind of animal fighting. It all leads to loss of life of both contestants. And unfortunate to the animals, they know nothing they can do to get out of it. Only we can stop this.

TS Beading said...

Very true, cock fighting is another big one. Unlike the wild horses in my "In the eyes of a horse," post last week, there are criminal laws in the USA prohibiting the transfer of dogs across state lines for the purpose of fighting that make it a felony. It's people that care and take action that make these laws possible, but it also takes people who care to get these operations shut down. I've read that in some areas the laws prohibiting dog fighting aren't really enforced because in those areas the people support the fights. These people have included the local Humane Societies and police departments. Once again, this leaves it up to those of us who do care to take a stand and not only get the laws passed, but also to help get the laws enforced.

Pam said...

Very informative and truly sad that this happens. Dogs are so special, loyal, and loving. It is sickening when they are treated this way and made into killers.

JLynnPro said...

This is a very good post, and I completely agree with you. The stigma applied to pits and any dog that LOOKS like pits or LOOKS vicious is just awful.

I have known pitties, rotweillers, mastifs, GSDs, and dobermans, all of whom have been excellent, excellent dogs. I was raised with boxers, and they are my favorite breed. They are very sweet dogs.

I've shared this post on Facebook.