Anyone who knows me at all knows I have a temper. Anyone who knows me at all also knows that I have absolutely, positively, no tolerance whatsoever for criminal activity targeting children, the elderly, or animals.
So imagine how I felt when I read a January 21 article on ctpost.com detailing the prevalence of dogfighting in Connecticut. Let’s just say I wasn’t very happy. In fact, it made my blood boil.
As far as I’m concerned, there is no place for this vicious, cruel, and barbaric activity at all — much less in the 21st century. The time to end it is now.
The harsh reality of dogfighting in Connecticut
Jessica Rubin, a state animal advocate and UConn law professor quoted in the article, has researched dogfighting charges in Connecticut. While doing so, she found that 110 people were charged with “dogfighting related offenses” here between 2007 and 2017.
Among other things, Rubin told ctppost.com that there were no charges in some years and multiple charges in others. She also noted that the activity seems to be most prevalent in areas with the greatest population densities.
“The issues include extreme cruelty, criminal behavior, gambling, giving dogs unauthorized medicines and violence,” Rubin said. “Children are exposed to the offenses and it compounds the dogfighting.”
Meanwhile, dogs that are lucky enough to survive and escape their ordeal, “usually end up in shelters around the state in hopes that law-abiding dog lovers will adopt them and end their nightmare with care and love.”
And then there are those who aren’t so fortunate.
“When they’re no longer profitable to dog fighters — or if they don’t show enough ‘fighting spirit’— they’re typically killed in atrocious ways, including by being used as ‘bait dogs,’ drowned, electrocuted, beaten or hanged,” Martin Mersereau, vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told ctpost.com. “There are no winners in this sickening blood sport, only abject criminals who represent the very worst of human nature,” Mersereau added.
Two years ago, someone found a badly wounded dog — later named Freedom by rescuers — “wandering on Brushy Plains Road in Branford covered in scars and injuries.”
His story is also chronicled in the ctpost.com article.
According to the account, officials at the Branford Animal Shelter concluded the wounds were the result of dogfighting. They also determined that Freedom whose teeth were filed down so he couldn’t inflict damage on other dogs, was probably used as a “bait” dog. As such, it would have been his “job” to trigger attacks by combatants.
“Based on the wounds, this dog definitely took the brunt of whatever has been going on,” shelter director Laura Burban then told the New Haven Register. “What we can see is that it looks like his feet were tied together and he was used as the bait dog for other dogs to attack him,” she said.
Freedom is not alone…
Currently, dogfighting is not only illegal throughout the United States, but it is also a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Even so, Freedom’s story is not unique.
According to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) statistics cited in the ctpost.com story, there are tens of thousands of dog fight organizers across the country that force hundreds of thousands of dogs to brutally train and fight for sport.
Over the last eight years, the organization says, it has assisted with 200 dogfighting cases in 24 states and has helped rescue and investigate nearly 5,000 victims of dogfighting.
Last year alone, the ASPCA says it directly rescued more than 400 animals from dogfighting rings across 12 states.
“Through our extensive work with law enforcement agencies nationwide, we know that organized dogfighting is taking place in every type of community across the country, causing unimaginable pain and suffering for the animals involved,” Stacy Wolf, senior vice president of ASPCA’s Anti-Cruelty Group told ctpost.com.
And that is unacceptable.