I see a lot of articles about dog fight rings, most of which I don’t run. I’m running this one for several reasons. First, the way these dogs were found shows that alert people can make a difference. These dogs were only found because this couple were paying attention AND had the backbone to call in their suspicians. Big barks to this smart couple!
Second, this article talks about the rings in a way that suggests some new ways to identify and bust them. The fact these rings are publicizing themselves on the Internet tells me there are ways to track them that way. Is anybody doing it? I don’t know but I bet some Dogsters do. Also, the article mentions that the big money fighters ship their dogs via plane to other areas of the country. Is anyone working with the airlines to give them information on ways to identify potential dog fight rings and how to report them? How about a standard article or press release that could go out to local and neighborhood papers telling residents about the dangers and evils of dog fighting and how to report dog fighters? And what about the Internal Revenue Service looking for lost of undeclared income from dog fighting? Remember, Al Capone was brought to heel for tax evasion, not for murder, extortion or any of his other crimes.
Next, even though the officers in charge here say that many of these dogs are gentle, their first thought is to euthanize them simply for being “bred to fight.” Oh come on, if you want to talk genetics, someone could argue that humans were “bred to fight” as well but no one uses that as a reason for capital punishment. And if you wonder what I mean by that, look at the vast amount of human history. The “fighters” won by leaving their genetic marks on our species.
So what does all this say about Pit Bulls and society’s view of them? On one hand, dog fighting is bad but the dogs are worse. Why? Because our laws give the people who run the rings a year or so at most for causing the torture and deaths of these dogs but the ones who suffer the most are condemned to death simply for being who they are, regardless of whether or not they will ever be a threat to a human of any age or size. Sounds pretty despicable, doesn’t it?
Police seize pit bulls in dog-fighting bust
Spotted from hot-air balloon
By DNICA COTO, The Charlotte Observer
In what authorities are calling one of the biggest dog fighting busts in recent history, Union County authorities have seized 36 pit bulls from an Indian Trail home.
Deputies were tipped off to the home when a couple riding in a hot-air balloon spotted the dogs and called police.
Authorities confiscated the dogs Thursday, along with a treadmill, laxatives and scales — tools that dog fighters often use to help ensure the dogs fit a certain weight category, akin to boxing, said Lt. Michelle Starnes with the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies also found an empty room they say was covered in feces.
Stanley Max Plowman Jr., 26, who owns the dogs, told the Observer he didn’t train dogs for fights. Authorities are still investigating and he has not been charged.
It’s Union County’s biggest bust, said Sheriff Eddie Cathey.
Deputies are investigating similar cases elsewhere, he said, and the illegal sport is growing nationwide.
“It’s a more profitable thing now than it ever has been,” he said.
Deputies seized 29 dogs, seven puppies, a gun and a computer from Plowman’s home. They also took a DVD Plowman said he bought at the Sweet Union Flea Market titled “Off the Chain,” which is described on its Web site as a movie about the underground world of dog fighting.
Deputies also took several training tapes, Cathey said. None of the videos or pictures seized involve Plowman’s dogs so far, Starnes said, adding that deputies hadn’t finished viewing the evidence.
Plowman said he boards, breeds and sells pit bulls, and conditions them only for dog shows, not fights. “I buy dogs from people with the scars already on them so they won’t get fought again,” Plowman said.
But Starnes said she believes the “pulling competition” awards deputies seized from his house were won for fighting.
Most of Plowman’s dogs were gentle and had old injuries, Starnes said. One dog was emaciated and another had a torn ear. That dog, Plowman said, was attacked last year by another of his dogs, who died in the fight.
“I didn’t have the money to take him to the vet,” Plowman told the Observer. “I healed him up as best as I could.”
The 36 dogs seized in the Union County case will likely be euthanized, Starnes said, because they were bred for fighting.
Nationwide, the number of dogs seized at one time for dog fighting ranges from a dozen to 285, which were rounded up in Houston last year, according to news reports. An estimated 50,000 dog fighters exist nationwide, with roughly 1,000 in North Carolina, said Bob Reder, N.C. program manager for the Humane Society of the United States.
Dog fighters fit into three categories: street, hobbyist and professional, he said. Not a lot of money or planning exists at the street level, with spontaneous fights taking place in alleys or behind buildings. Professionals, though, will fly their dogs across the U.S. for competitions, with as much as $150,000 exchanging hands after fights, Reder said. At least three big-time professionals breed and fight dogs in North Carolina, he said.
The Internet also has fueled the popularity of dog fights because anyone, anywhere, can place bets, said Ernie Wilkinson, chairman of the N.C. Task Force on Animal Fighting.
Follow this link to read the News 14 Carolina treatment of the story. There is also a video at this link.