Animal Cruelty as a Spectator Blood Sport
Animal fighting thrives among the lowest depths of humanity
Dogfighting and cockfighting events - among the most barbaric acts of staged animal cruelty in existence - continue to flourish in Texas.
These blood sport activities, staged for the purpose of illegal gambling and entertainment, often involve drug trafficking, illegal weapons possession and violent behavior. And to make matters worse, spectators often bring their children to these events, perpetuating the cycle of sadistic behavior toward animals into the next generation.
Dogs that survive staged dogfights often die hours or days later from blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion or infection as a result of their injuries. When not in the arena, these dogs are typically kept on short heavy chains, malnourished and often brutally treated to encourage a malicious temperament.
Cats, rabbits and small dogs are often used as training bait for the fighting dogs to maul to death. These "bait" animals are often stolen pets or obtained through "free to a good home" advertisements.
Fortunately, Texas lawmakers in the 2007 legislative session increased the penalties for those convicted of dogfighting. The penalty for causing one dog to fight with another is now a state jail felony punishable by up to $10,000 in fines or 2 years in jail or both. The punishment for attending a dogfighting exhibition has been increased from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor.
Cockfighting exhibitions are staged by placing two birds, bred for maximum aggressiveness, in an enclosure from which they cannot escape and forcing them to fight until one is dead. The birds' legs are usually fitted with steel blades known as gaffs, which are designed to puncture and mutilate the opposing bird. They are sometimes given steroids or other drugs to make them more successful fighters.*
Cockfighting is a crime in 50 states, including Texas, where it is a felony, punishable by two years in a state jail and/or a $10,000 fine. However, possession of birds used for fighting, being a spectator at a cockfight or possession of fighting paraphernalia is still legal.
THLN will continue to work for laws to help law enforcement agencies crack down on animal fighting, including expanding penalties for those who possess animals for the purpose of fighting and for those who manufacture, buy, sell or exchange cockfighting and dogfighting paraphernalia.
If you have knowledge of dogfighting or cockfighting activities occurring in your community, please contact your local law enforcement and the SPCA of Texas at www.spca.org/cruelty or 214.742.SPCA (7722).
The SPCA of Texas offers a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any individual involved in dogfighting in the state of Texas. Help us take a stand today by reporting all suspected animal cruelty and abuse to your local law enforcement and to the SPCA of Texas.
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Cockfighting-ring-is-busted-2586615.php - 1.17.12 | The Bexar County Sheriff's Office has broken up a cockfighting ring, seizing $42,000, cages, blades, harnesses and 140 live roosters.
http://www.woai.com/news/local/story/Twenty-roosters-found-dead-during-cockfighting/WfQeUjH7W0eyXXRANHHMIg.cspx - 1.17.12 | An estimated 140 roosters that were forced to fight each other are now being cared for at Animal Care Services.
http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/07/14/2336352/fort-worth-considers-ban-on-roosters.html#ixzz0tlSXsyOg - 7.14.10 | Fort Worth is looking at banning roosters, following the lead of other cities and states that have cracked down on the birds as part of a campaign against cockfighting.
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/dog-253783-href-http.html - 6.16.10 | A criminal dog-fighting DNA database has been created to help the criminal justice system investigate and prosecute dog-fighting cases.
http://cbs11tv.com/local/cockfighting.navarro.county.2.1476571.html - 2.07.10 | Navarro County Sheriff's Deputies, the SPCA of Dallas and representatives from the Navarro County District Attorney's office have busted a cockfighting ring in the rural Navarro County community of Emmett, south of the town of Frost.
HSUS, Washington, D.C. - 7.14.09 | Following the nationís largest dogfighting raid, The Humane Society of the United States has launched a national animal fighting tip line.
http://hsus.typepad.com/wayne/2009/07/dogfighting-raid.html - 7.09.09 | Federal law enforcement agencies, along with The HSUS, The Humane Society of Missouri, and the ASPCA raided multiple dogfighting operations around the country in what was the largest single day of actions against this blood sport in American history.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/us/07dogs.html?_r=2&hp - 12.06.08 | An investigation into dogfights in East Texas took 17 months, and led to the seizing of 187 pit bulls and 55 indictments.
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