(scroll to the bottom for our view on Michael Vick)DOG FIGHTING
  1. Dog fighting is a sadistic contest in which two dogs specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight are placed in a pit (generally a small arena enclosed by plywood walls) to fight each other, for the spectators gambling and entertainment. Fights average nearly an hour in length and often last more than two hours. Dogfights end when one of the dogs is no longer willing or able to continue. In addition to these dogfights, there are reports of an increase in unorganized, more spontaneous street fights in urban areas.
  2. The injuries inflicted and sustained by dogs participating in dogfights are frequently severe, even fatal. The American pit bull terriers used in the majority of these fights have been specifically bred and trained for fighting and are unrelenting in their attempts to overcome their opponents. With their extremely powerful jaws, they are able to inflict severe bruising, deep puncture wounds, and broken bones.

Dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight. Other animals are often sacrificed as well. Some owners train their dogs for fights using smaller animals such as cats, rabbits, or small dogs. These bait animals are often stolen pets or animals obtained through free to good home advertisements.

  1. Yes. Numerous law enforcement raids have unearthed many disturbing facets of this illegal sport. Young children are sometimes present at the events, which can promote insensitivity to animal suffering, enthusiasm for violence, and a lack of respect for the law. Illegal gambling is the norm at dogfights. Dog owners and spectators wager thousands of dollars on their favorites. Firearms and other weapons have been found at dogfights because of the large amounts of cash present. And dog fighting has been connected to other kinds of violence even homicide, according to newspaper reports. In addition, illegal drugs are often sold and used at dogfights.
  2. Dogs used for fighting have been bred for many generations to be dangerously aggressive toward other animals. The presence of these dogs in a community increases the risk of attacks not only on other animals but also on people. Children are especially at risk, because their small size may cause a fighting dog to perceive a child as another animal.
  3. There are several compelling reasons. Because dog fighting yields such large profits for participants, the minor penalties associated with misdemeanor convictions are not a sufficient deterrent. Dog fighters merely absorb these fines as part of the cost of doing business. The cruelty inherent in dog fighting should be punished by more than a slap on the hand. Dog fighting is not a spur-of-the-moment act; it is a premeditated and cruel practice.

Those involved in dog fighting go to extensive lengths to avoid detection by law enforcement, so investigations can be difficult, dangerous, and expensive. Law enforcement officials are more inclined to investigate dog fighting if it is a felony. As more states make dog fighting a felony offense, those remaining states with low penalties will become magnets for dog fighters.

  1. Yes. Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and a felony offense in almost every state.
  2. Yes. Spectators provide much of the profit associated with dog fighting. The money generated by admission fees and gambling helps keep this sport alive. Because dogfights are illegal and therefore not widely publicized, spectators do not merely happen upon a fight; they seek it out. They are willing participants who support a criminal activity through their paid admission and attendance.
  3. If you live in one of the states where dog fighting is still only a misdemeanor, please write to your state legislators and urge them to make it a felony. To find out how your state treats dog fighting, see State Dog fighting Laws below.

We encourage you also to write letters to the media to increase public awareness of the dangers of dog fighting and to law enforcement officials to urge them to take the issue seriously. We have provided sample letters in this packet. You may want to display our dog fighting poster in your community; additional copies can be ordered from The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

If you suspect that dog fighting is going on in your own neighborhood, alert your local law enforcement agency and urge agency officials to contact The HSUS for practical tools, advice, and assistance.

Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and the federal Animal Welfare Act prohibits the interstate transportation of dogs for fighting purposes. Forty-six states have made dog fighting a felony offense, 38 have made the possession of dogs for fighting a felony offense, and 19 have made being a spectator at a dogfight a felony offense. This information is current as of August 2001.

Sample Letter to Law Enforcement Agencies

[Date] [Name of Sheriff/Police Chief] [Address] [City, State, Zip]

Re: Illegal Animal Fighting

Dear [Sheriff/Chief Last Name]:

As you may be aware, there has been an increase in cruel and illegal cockfighting and dog fighting activities. For many years The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been extensively involved in efforts to end these crimes. In response to the high volume of calls for information and/or assistance from law enforcement agencies across the nation, The HSUS has prepared training materials to help these agencies respond effectively to animal fighting.

The HSUS offers courses in dealing with animal fighting that cover such topics as the background of animal fighting, relevant laws, gambling and other associated crimes, successful investigative techniques, use of informants and undercover operations, search warrants, and care and disposition of seized fighting animals.

For the safety of our community, I urge your agency to take animal fighting crimes seriously. If you believe your agency would benefit from this information, please visit The HSUS website at or or e-mail


[Your Signature] [Your Name] [Your Address] [Your City, State, Zip]

Courtesy of HSUS

Numbers to call to report Dog Fighting or Suspected Dog Fighting:

(contact your local Humane Society or Police Station if you don't know who to call)


  • ILLINOIS: 309-762-9500
  • IOWA: 309-762-9500
  • LOS ANGELES: 1-888-LA-PET1
  • OHIO: 877-244-6446
COSTA RICA: Animal Legal & Historical Center(Read about all issues pertaining to dog fighting: legal, history, culture, victims, etc.)NEWS / INFO:

    Our view (Pit Bull Gear) on Michael Vick:

    People need to remember that the negativity towards Michael Vick goes way beyond dog fighting! In his indictment which he signed and admitted his guilt, here are some of the things he did: Electrocuted dogs, shot dogs, drowned dogs and hung dogs, all to their death.

    "And then there was one last body that stood out from the rest. It had signs of bruising on all four ankles and all along one side. Its skull was fractured in two places and it had four broken vertebrae. Brownie had said that all of the dogs that didn't die from being hanged were drowned, except one. As that dog lay on the ground fighting for air, Quanis Phillips grabbed her front legs and Michael Vick grabbed her hind legs. They swung the dog over their head like a jump rope then slammed it to the ground. The first impact didn't kill it. So Phillips and Vick slammed it again. The two men kept at, alternating back and forth pounding the creature against the ground, until at last, the little red dog was dead."

    What kind of human being does something like that? Imagine the mindset.

    Another thing to remember is they stole innocent animals, some of them family pets and used them as bait dogs. Could you imagine what those dogs went through?  1 minute on the couch with their family and the next in a dark room getting killed. I'm sure people who defend him or want to give him a second chance would not be doing so if 1 of their dogs was used. Here is the thing that separates him from a lot of other dog fighters. He was doing it solely for pleasure. Here is a millionaire betting on dog fights, sponsoring dogs and dog fights and breeding and selling dogs for dog fights. The majority of dog fighters do it for the money. Not to say the sick individuals are not enjoying it, but they are doing it for money. Dog fighting in the city of Philadelphia a long with animal abuse has tripled since he came there. Philadelphia has had the most dog fighting busts and abuse cases out of any city in the past 2 years. They also have dog fighting videos that you can purchase in Gas Stations. The majority of these crimes are being committed by Teenagers. So, is this a coincidence? I strongly doubt it. Even if it was, wouldn't you think if he really cared, he would try to educate those teenagers from right and wrong when it comes to dog fighting? Not saying he could change everything, but at least speak up in the city you are getting paid millions of dollars for a second chance. Does someone who murdered and tortured dogs deserve a second chance? He has his second chance at playing football. But, in everyday life, getting it from the general public he would have to do more than donate money to the HSUS. And the public speeches were mandatory as part of his community service. There are many dogs that belonged to him that were rehabilitated and adopted and now living great lives. But, there are some that can never be adopted. These people and rescues have spent thousands of dollars and put in thousands of man hours. You would think if he really felt bad, he would donate something to them. Or at least tell them he was sorry and thank you for saving those dogs. He has had invitations to a couple organizations that have those dogs, and he declined. Why?? If he did all of those things or any, maybe people would change their look on him and give him a second chance.

    If people want to give him a second chance, that is their business. But, to support him is beyond thinkable. Are you doing it because he is your favorite football player? Love watching him play? If he was just a guy next door that did all of those things, would you be supporting him? That guy would definitely be doing more time and have harsher punishments.

    We have been fighting the negatives of this breed way before Vick was arrested and continue to do it every day. This breed means a lot to us and we can not sit back and let people who have done and do bad things to these dogs get away with it, or at least not let them forget what they did.