Dog Fighting: Are We in the Dark Ages?

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If anyone thinks dog fighting is a thing of the past, then sadly they are wrong. Eduardo Goncalves, chief executive for the League against Cruel Sports   (LACS) did not mince words when he recently expressed the urgency of this issue in the United Kingdom.

Worldwide, dogs are being bred and smuggled into various countries continually providing this institution with new dogs to fight within this appalling industry. Evolving and growing, what can be done to fell this industry and save these dogs from a life of torture and abuse?

Within the US, many became aware of this “sport” when Michael Vick, a professional football player, was implicated in a dog fighting ring back in April of 2007. But this industry goes far deeper than that.

Fortified through international crime syndicates, these dog fights are increasing in their popularity worldwide. Once only known to occur in barns in rural areas, much like you might see in some Hollywood movie, they have now moved to urban areas. Pub owners have leased their basements for these fights, along with car parks or any other inconspicuous space where these fights can be allowed to happen. The depth of this institution knows no ethical or moral boundaries. The dogs that are bred for these fights, from a very young age; are beaten, electrocuted, and punished in ways too graphic to mention here. The goal; create the meanest dog possible that will win fights and allow those who bet on them to reap the profits.

The United Kingdom and the LACS are attempting to stop this practice through tough laws and governmental legislation, however the fight is far from over and the path to victory riddled with bureaucracy. Within the UK they have the Dangerous Dog Act. In essence, the Act bans certain breeds of dogs from being owned within the UK; the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, and the Argentine and Brazilian Mastiffs. Opponents of this legislation feel it is flawed and too breed specific. The LACS has recently released a report called Project Bloodline. It is designed to understand why, when, and where dog fighting occurs and to end this practice in the UK. It also seeks to establish a national dog fighting plan, strengthen and clarify current laws, and created a mandatory minimum sentence for all those convicted of this act of three years in prison.

For those who practice and support this industry there is no doubt that if dogs “were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.” We have clearly crossed the Rubicon here, as a society, if something is not done about this soon to stop this industry. Public outcry can be its greatest enemy, and in time, I hope we all hear it.

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