National Dog Fighting Awareness Day | PetFirst
Pet Care & Health

National Dog Fighting Awareness Day

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
1 year ago

The ASPCA coined April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day each and every year to reveal the truth behind dogfighting and encourage dog lovers around the nation to take action to prevent and/or stop this cruel act. 

There’s no wonder why a day has been developed to raise awareness of dogfighting crimes. Dogfighting is a felony in all 50 states, but the ASPCA believes there are still tens of thousands of dogfighting rings in the United States alone. 

What is Dogfighting? 

Dogfighting is a brutal “sport” where dogs are trained to severely wound or kill their opponent. 

The dogs involved in dogfighting become loyal to their “owner” in many cases and seek to please them. These dogs have been trained to believe fighting is equal to loyalty. 

This is a kill or be-killed sport. The losing opponent often does not receive any type of veterinary care and is left to pass away alone. 

What Can I Do? 

To help the ASPCA take action against dogfighting rings, the first action you can take is to sign a petition. 

The HEART Act is attempting to be passed to allow more canine victims to be released as evidence, so they are able to be rehabilitated. This bill also requires the defendant to pay for all veterinary care to rehabilitate the dog and ensure a full recovery if possible. If you’re interested in learning more about the HEART Act click here. 

You can also do your part in preventing dogfighting rings by learning the signs and reporting anything suspicious. Your call will remain confidential.

Some signs to look for include: 

  • Dogs who have serious injuries to their ear(s) or limb(s). This could be obvious, but many dogfighters will be quick to tell you their dog got into a simple fight at the dog park or find another excuse as to why their dog looks the way she does
  • Dogs hooked up to heavy chains
  • Dogs who have a tire as a “play toy”
  • Tires are often used as “bait” during training periods
  • Dogs locked in basements (yes, people really do this)


If you believe you have found a dogfighting ring or a dog who is involved in fighting, DO NOT approach this yourself. This is a dangerous field and must be handled by police, animal welfare officers, and other professionals very carefully. 

Simply give the tip and let them take care of the rest.

Adopting a Former Fighting Dog

Adopting a former fighting dog may sound scary and, in some cases, it is. But, in others, these dogs can become the most grateful, loyal, and loving dogs you have ever seen. Those who have had the courage to adopt former fighting dogs have given them a second chance at life. The opportunity to love, to be loved, and to spend the rest of their days in complete bliss. 

Behavioral Modification for Adopted Former Fighters 

It’s important to keep in mind that many of the dogs available who are former fighters may appear to be completely rehabilitated, but violent tendencies could still occur. Humans aren’t the only ones with PTSD; dogs can experience PTSD as well. 

We aren’t saying do not adopt a former fighting dog, but we are saying to be careful if you do so. You are saving a life and making a dog’s dream come true. If you can handle his or her past, he or she will likely be forever grateful for the present and future you share with them. 

We will share a few stories with you about several people who decided to adopt a former fighting dog, how the process of adjustment was, and what the dog is like now. 

Former Fighting Dog: Danny Dog 

One of the most famous dogs, Dan, was taken from Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring. He was originally rescued by Best Friends Animal Society. Dan now has a little girl he plays with on a regular basis. And, the family who adopted him decided to open up their own animal training group to help dogs like Dan. 

Former Fighting Dog: Normm 

Normm was rescued in St. Louis, Missouri from an area that’s well-known for dogfighting rings. The Stray Rescue of St. Louis was the first to rescue this poor pup. 

Thanks to someone who sent in an anonymous tip regarding a dog who was seriously injured, The Stray Rescue of St. Louis was able to locate Normm in an area of bushes a short distance away. He was headed there to pass away on his own.

When he was found, one of his legs was completely dead with an extremely deep flesh wound full of maggots eating the decayed tissue. He also had bite wounds all over his body. He was rushed to an emergency clinic where his leg was amputated and he was put on fluids to help in his recovery. 

That one anonymous tip saved Normm’s life and he is now healthy, happy, and searching for a new home. 

Help Save These Dogs

The stories you just read are incredible and these are just a few stories about dogs’ lives that have been saved and are now safe. Unfortunately, there are still tens of thousands of dogs who are not safe. If you have any suspicion there is dog fighting in your area, alert the police and your local humane society and/or rescue organization. 

Make more dreams come true for these dogs who have been exposed to the worst. For the dogfighting hotline, please click here

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