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November 13, 2012 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Dog Fighting and Pitbull Cruelty

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Sadly, dog-fighting has become a very common term that is used around the United States. With those words, images of Pitbulls come to everyone's mind. If you read my blogs, know me personally, or see me volunteering in the community, I actively support and stand by the Pitbull breed.

Read my blog about the American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier to learn more about this wonderful breed!

What is Dog-Fighting?

Dog-fighting is a blood-sport that pits two dogs against each other to ultimately have one left standing alive. The Pitbull is the most common breed used in this horrendous sport. Why is it referenced as a "sport"? Money is a huge part of this underground ring and dog-fighting is illegal in all 50 states. Gambling, placing bets, stud fees, as well as admission fees to watch this sport, make it very difficult to STOP this heinous crime against dogs.

A Little History

Yes, dog fighting, and baiting of animals has been around for centuries, and was especially documented during the Roman Empire years and in China during the 240 A.D. era.

It was very common for dogs to be used to bait bulls and bears, as entertainment for royalty and commoners. Dogs pitted against dogs in pit rings was often a common "sporting" event to be watched during these times as well.

Certain species of dogs like the Olde English Bulldog, and the Bull and Terrier Dog (now extinct) were bred to have characteristics to help them with the baiting of the bear or bulls. For example the build of their body, skill, and being strong-headed are the traits that were valued for these fights. These dogs were originally bred to either hunt, or guard prior to entering the dog fighting ring.

As animal welfare laws came into practice, dog fighting was outlawed. Britain was one of the first to eliminate this sport in 1835. It was difficult to hide baiting a bull or bear, so underground fighting rings were developed, pitting dog against dog. Sadly, the last dog standing was deemed the winner.

Why the Pitbull?

A majority of dogs used in the fighting rings were loyal to their humans, and hunted small game (boar, bear). These are considered the best in the dog fighting ring due to their hunting traits. In the United States, unfortunately, the American Pit Bull Terrier, and Staffordshire Terrier have been used to replace the extinct Bull and Terrier Dog. They are considered the top contenders to have in the dog fighting world.

Other breeds used in this underground world of dog-fighting, but not often recognized, are the Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Tosa Inu, and the Presa Canario.

Are all Pitbull's Born to Fight Other Dogs?

NO! As with any dog, the environment they are being raised in will dictate a dog's behavior long-term. Proper puppy obedience lessons, early socialization with other dogs, setting up rules and boundaries, all are great methods to help build a healthy relationship with these breeds.

Every breed, every dog is born with certain disposition traits. Temperament is easily recognized at 4-6 weeks old. In every litter there are pups that are shy, assertive, docile, indifferent, and yes even aggressive-type behavior can be seen. All this means is each pup will need to be matched up with the right pet-parent personality to help them grow up to be confident, friendly, and a loving companion.

The bully breeds do not do well in a home with no rules, boundaries, or a passive personality. They also do better if matched with the opposite sex versus same sex. Read my blog about the difference in genders.

When considering a Pitbull type breed or the other breeds mentioned above, some might have dog-to-dog behavioral issues as they mature. As long as a pet-parent understands this, the behavior can easily be managed.

What Can I do to Help the Image of the Pitbull Breed?

If you are considering a Pitbull breed for a pet, please adopt before going through the want ads in the newspaper or Craigslist. Sadly, a majority of the dogs listed on those are most likely from backyard breeders looking to make a quick buck, or dog-fighting hobbyist trying to support their sport. Adopting a Pitbull at a shelter, or your local humane society is the best option to give this breed a chance.

The shelters, and humane society's are overflowing with Pitbull mixes due to unscrupulous breeders that only care about making money on these adorable pups.

Get involved! Go to local events that involve the Pitbull or Staffy breeds to show your support. The more people that show up, the more it helps the community to support these breeds.

Start local events that involve Pitbull breeds! Organize a Pitbull Walk-A-Thon to raise many for your local shelter. Bringing awareness to this breed in a positive light is the BEST option they have.

Fight against Breed Specific Laws. These laws hone in on certain breeds like the Pitbulls, and deem all of them dangerous, not allowing any of them in a community. Sadly, law enforcement officers will even base a dog's appearance on whether it is a Pitbull. This is allowing officials within the community too much leverage to determine which dog should be allowed and which dog shouldn't be.

As a dog trainer, I have worked with some very vicious dogs in general, not one breed specific over another is more vicious. Yes, I understand that smaller breeds won't implement as much damage as a larger breed, but even so, that doesn't justify banning certain breeds.

Report any type of illegal activity being used against any type of breed. The more we use our voice for them, the more we can unite, and stand up for the bully breeds!

Final Thoughts

Remember, it isn't the breed that is at fault, it is the pet-parents. How a dog is loved, socialized, and taught manners speaks volumes to how they "turn-out" as an adult. It is up to us to breed awareness, and stop this horrific plight against an unwilling species.


ASPCA - Dog Fighting

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