Happy National Dog Fighting Awareness Day!
That didn’t sound right, did it? It’s sad that there even needs to be a day to bring attention to this horrible crime, and yet everyday, countless animals will suffer because people will use the human-animal bond for profit, even if it means the death or torture of an animal.
Kalamazoo has its own ties to dog fighting. The Kalamazoo Humane Society was able to assist in the dog fighting raids that occurred right here in Kalamazoo in the late summer of 2012. Over the course of 3 weeks, three Kalamazoo area homes were targeted and at each home, dogs and evidence of dog fighting were discovered. Two of the three homes had bloody pits on the premises, which speaks volumes to the frequency these animals were forced to fight each other to please their owners.
This is old news, but don’t think that there aren’t still dog fighters in Greater Kalamazoo who have learned from the 2012 raids and are changing tactics. Dog fighters live in the city or country; they work/play/worship at the same places you work/play/worship. Dog fighting is not limited by race, religion or financial stature. Dog fighting is everywhere and can only be stopped if people are willing to see it and report it.
You will likely never witness a fight in action. Finding a dog fight in progress is nearly impossible, even for professional response teams. Despite the slim chance of finding an actual fight, you will see other signs that an animal owner is using dogs for fighting including:
- Unusually high turn-over – Dogs may come and go frequently. Some dogs may eventually return and others may not.
- Equipment above what the “average” owner may keep on hand such as treadmills/slat mills, flirt poles, weighted collars, garage door springs attached to the dog chains, and other items not normally used by the average dog owner.
- Dogs separated by chains, kennels or fencing – Fighting dogs need to be kept apart
- Barrel-style dog houses
- Frequent barking coming from wood areas or far behind houses
There are many other signs of dog fighting. From our experience, many fighting dogs do not look like “pure bred” Pit Bulls. The large, barrel-chested stocky Pit Bulls are generally show dogs or pets and are not good for fighting. Leaner Pit Bull mix dogs tend to be what we see more of in this area. The dogs can be any color but are rarely blue or grey. Black and white, brindle and buckskin colored dogs were found more often than other colors. Fighting dogs can be kept indoors or outdoors, in sheds, garages, basements, wooded areas or barns.
The HSUS offers up to a $5,000 reward to anyone who reports dog fighting that results in criminal charges. One of the witnesses to report dog fighting at the home of Kelvin Thomas on W. KL Avenue did receive a full $5,000 payout for the tip that led to Thomas’ arrest.
Please keep in mind that not all Pit Bull owners are dog fighters and not all Pit Bulls are aggressive!
If you suspect dog fighting, contact your local Animal Control department. Kalamazoo County residents should contact Kalamazoo County Animal Services & Enforcement at 269-383-8775.
Dog Fighting can also be reported directly to the HSUS Tipline at 1-877-TIP-HSUS or 1-877-847-4787
- HSUS Photo Slideshow of 2012 Kalamazoo Dog Fighting Raids
- mLive Article about the Leonard Turner Case
- mLive Article about the Kelvin Thomas Case
- mLive Article about the Marvis Blanks Case
- mLive Article about the Sam Steel Case
- The Examiner coverage of Sam Steel Case
Related Dog Fighting Information:
- HSUS Tipline
- ASPCA National Dog Fighting Awareness Day
- Kalamazoo County Animal Services: Animal Fighting
- PetFinder Animal Fighting Fact Sheet
- Animal Legal Defense Fund Animal Fighting Info