Cracking down on dog-fighting is difficult due to the secretive nature of the "sport" and the money at stake. Since it's usually tied to other criminal activity, people are often reluctant to pass on information to authorities.
Given the challenges, I'm happy to report that after a three year investigation, a power team of animal and government organizations came together to successfully pull off the second largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history on Friday.
It was a team effort by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and local law enforcement.
When people think about dog fighting, many think of a small operation in a dark alley. But this dog-fighting ring stretched from Alabama into Georgia and Texas. It was not uncommon for bets to reach $200,000 on a single fight. There was a lot on the line and it took a long, well planned mission to put an end to the illegal activities.
Rescuers found 367 dogs along with guns, narcotics, and training supplies. 114 pups alone were saved from a single yard where they were left tethered in 90-degree weather without food or water. To give you an idea of the "medical care" these dogs received, there were several staple guns uncovered that, believe it or not, were used to seal wounds received from fighting.
The dogs have already begun to work with behaviorists on the long path to adoption. But the rehabilitation process will be well worth it. Former fighting dogs have went on to become therapy dogs, law enforcement partners, and beloved family pets.
Chris Schindler, manager of animal fighting investigations for HSUS, expects this raid to have a significant effect on large scale dog-fighting operations. Lets hope this is a big step towards ending this cruel "sport."