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Ending the Fight
Imagine yourself cramped in a box. It’s dark, you can’t see, and you may have been kidnapped. Now see a man in front of you, frowning and inspecting you. He pulls you out of the dark space and puts you in a pen with others like you. One growls at you, a fear in his eyes which frightens you, so you lunge to control him. He bites you, you bite him, blood drips from open wounds as the man watches intensely. Finally, he pulls the other out, grunting. He says to another man who has appeared to ‘put him down, by gun’. Then he pulls you out, stitching up your wounds with only a needle and thread. When you whine, he hits you.
A few days later, he throws you into a pool you can’t stand in and makes you swim for hours, telling you it’s to build muscle. He yanks you out after a long time and then puts you on a treadmill with a small dog yapping and whining. You don’t want to kill it, but you’re so hungry. You run hard and long, trying to reach it. The man then stops the treadmill and gives you the prize. You kill and eat it, but it tastes funny. Then he lets you sleep.
The next day, the man takes you to another place and puts you in a big dirt ring with another like you. The other lunges and bites you. A fight breaks out, ending with another man pulling the one you were fighting out. Blood flows again and the only thing you won was ending the pain. You will do this for the rest of your life, ripping up others and avoiding injury yourself, all just to please your master.
1tor-ture ’tór-cher n 1 : the infliction of intense pain especially to punish or obtain a confession 2 a : physical or mental anguish
Now you know what it is like to live as a fighting dog. These creatures are treated with only the bare necessities of life. They may never see the love or compassion required to love in return, only rage and blood thirst. It is hard for any person to hear and see the constant irritant of animal cruelty, but this? This is the epitome of it. Owners care only to keep the dog alive and strong. They thrive in aggressive rings of gamblers and thieves, making money from the fights and stealing the dogs they want. Many police departments are working hard to end or ‘bust’ these rings of terror, tracking any leads or reports related to dog fighting rings. Why? Well, hopefully, they are doing their jobs, caring for the safety of the people the dogs could hurt and the dogs themselves. They see the love still left in the soft brown eyes of an abandoned pit bull, heavily scarred and shrinking into shadows when a person passes by. They see the mark of a torturer on every scar, every blinded eye, and every missing ear, fighting against these cruelties with the law. Why do these men and women fight? It’s the right thing to do. But every day, the villains spend a minimal time in jail, just waiting to get back out and enter the business again. “2007 federal law makes dog fighting a felony in all 50 states. In this case, those arrested face felony charges that carry maximum sentences of five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. (Donna Porter, Largest Dog Fighting Ring Busted, 5 States Involved, 6.)” Some of these men have killed hundreds of small dogs, violently stabbing them, drowning them, or feeding them to their half starved fighting dogs. Did you know murderers face life in prison or the death penalty? The men the cops catch in DFRs are doggie serial killers, who practically walk in and out of jail (they spend only five years in prison, maximum). I say they need a harsher punishment. I say we need to up our federal ante in the poker game of crime, with much longer sentences and larger fines.
theft ’theft n : the act of stealing
There are several cruelties you may not be aware of that live and breathe in the DFR world. For anyone in the shelter business, you probably know that people steal many dogs a year for training and ‘bait’. This, however, is not often a known trait to many people with dogs at home. Did you guys know that teenagers make an average of $1500 to $2000 selling stolen puppies to DFR owners? That’s not all though, in fact, that is only the beginning. See, as I said before, many of these stolen pups are used simply to bait the real fighting ones. When you read what it’s like to be one of the fighting dogs, one dog was put in a cage in front of you, baiting you to run harder and longer. These dogs are usually smaller in size, noise-happy, little rag muffins that are enjoyed solely as loving family pets and lap dogs. The owners (of fighting dogs) will occasionally douse the dog in roach poison before a fight for their fighting dog to eat so the other dogs will hesitate to bite the bad-tasting fur of their opponent. After eaten, the dead dog is dumped in a dumpster, on the street, or out in the middle of nowhere, the corpse waiting for the police to find it. Often these corpses are recorded as runaways and strays, with only an assumption as to what killed them. The fact that these animals are stolen in the first place is enough to worry a person, but the torturing that goes on is enough to scare anyone worse that a horror film. Unfortunately, that’s not even the start of it.
1mur-der ’merd-er n : the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with deliberate intent or design
What really strikes me as inhumane is the business of killing dogs because they will not fight. You probably know of the football player who put down fighting dogs. Michael Vick, a former quarterback for the Atlantic Falcons, spent only eighteen months in jail out of a twenty-three month sentence for killing many dogs and breeding some illegally as well. To give you an idea of what conditions were like in the first place for these dogs, “The water in the bowls was speckled with algae. Females were strapped into a ‘rape stand’ so the dogs could breed without injuring each other. Some of the sheds held syringes and other medical supplies, and training equipment such as treadmills and spring bars (from which dogs hung, teeth clamped on rubber rings, to strengthen their jaws). The biggest shed had a fighting pit, once covered by a bloodstained carpet that was found in the woods. (SI, Gorant, 9)”
The article is all about the new lives of Vick’s dogs and what they’ve gone through, spilling the gruesome truth about their handling and how it’s affected them. Some dogs roamed around on the property, but that couldn’t save them. They not only have an incredible sense of smell, but excellent hearing as well, meaning they heard every fight, every whine, every bark, and every soft groan of dying breath. But as I said, that’s not the worst of it. “According to court documents, from time to time Vick and his cohorts "rolled" the dogs: put them in the pit for short battles to see which ones had the right stuff. Those that fought got affection, food, vitamins and training sessions. The ones that showed no taste for blood were killed -- by gunshot, electrocution, drowning, hanging or, in at least one case, being repeatedly slammed against the ground. ( SI, Gorant, 10)” That there is quite possibly the epitome of inhumane.
Have you ever noticed when your dog gets really happy when you’re about to give them a treat? My dogs run in circles barking and kissing me (Yeah! We get yummy stuffs, woo-hoo! Yummy, yummy, yummy!). The same goes for when I get home and pet them. How about when you cry? Does your dog come and look at you, nudging and snuggling? They not only can read emotions but have developed their own, just as we have. Though they cannot speak our languages, they understand. They learn to read body language and react to it, shrinking when they know you are mad. Dogs are people, with heart and emotion just the same as us. I do believe that makes killing them murder.
jus-tice ’jes-tes n 1 a : the maintenance or administration of what is just b : JUDGE 1 c : the administration of law 2 a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair
Pick a murder trial, any trial. It can be punishable by death or life in prison, with occasional exceptions of shortened sentences. However, these exceptions almost never apply to serial killers, which is exactly what Michael Vick is. The dogs he tortured have been through hell, some not making it out. Is a punishment of a mere eighteen months is just?! I think not. He has committed mass murder, killing your best friends, your closest family members, and your humble pets. He squeezed the light, the love, the compassion out of them to replace it with aggression and fear. Fear to be a loving, licking, snuggling dog. Fear to not fight, to not taste blood, and of death that may soon take its toll. The owners of fighting dogs deserve not one life in prison, but all the lifetimes of torture the dogs saw every day, as well. These people are some of the worst criminals of the world. Yet they walk the streets every day, waiting to rise again in the treacherous sport of Dog Fighting.
You’ve heard my heart; my thoughts and revelations are now yours to walk the ribbons of ideas in your head. It is up to all of us now to make sure these villains are treated with exactly the humanity they forced on our canines, up to you to spread the word of unspeakable truths in the world of cruelty. It is up to you to find the passage of freedom, justice, and equality for the animals who can’t find it themselves. Up to you to end the fight. So, as much as it sounds like from an advertisement, go out there and find a way to make people change their minds, whether it through writing, speaking, acting, whatever you can do. According to a fairly brilliant man (being Franklin D. Roosevelt), the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.