How can you tell if a dog is a fighter or just got in a fight? It can be a dangerous undertaking for all involved. Part II

Now back to inner city rescues and practices:

In an inner city practice or rescue, it is often hard to tell which pit bulls were attacked in a fighting ring and which were attacked by accident.  I mean, a lot of these fighters are not pros.  Many of them adopt these dogs and don’t pay thousands for pedigree fighters.  Others just “adopt” them or steal them off the streets or from families.  And it is only fair to report if you have absolutely enough evidence to do so.

Cute Pit Bull Terrier

Here are the signs I looked for:

The People:

  1. Tried to pay cash in the room and didn’t want a record of it
  2. Arrives with a large group of friends
  3. Asked for extra pain meds, antibiotics, vitamins, supply catalogs, extra bandages, ointment, etc.
  4. Catch them going through the drawers
  5. No surprise at the cost of the veterinary treatment (they have been there before)
  6. Intimidation techniques
  7. Asking about how many puppies you think they can have, value, etc.

The Pet:

  1. Extraordinarily muscled
  2. Chains, chains, chains, and abuse in room- but pet was tolerant to pain and abuse
  3. Distribution of wounds and various stages of bite wound healing
  4. Aggression (to people AND pets) or timidity, fear of owners, etc.

    It is not always clear and I am glad that the police continue to crack down on dog and cock fighting.  I have heard many stories of veterinarians not reporting dog fighters in clinical practice because of the intimidating nature of dog fighters and because of the danger associated with doing so.  I will admit, that after reporting a dog fighter, I once called out the next day and drove a different car to work for a month.  I even had a friend who bought a firearm after successfully reporting and being threatened. That is how serious it can be doing the right thing.

Dr. Jed

Dr. Jed Schaible Signature

Dr. Jed Schaible VMD

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November 14, 2010 at 09:23

Thank you for these posts about treating dogs involved in dogfighting. It’s an aspect of veterinary practice that I never think about. I can imagine how scary it is to report that type of criminal activity and wonder what repercussions might result from the owner. Truly an act of courage.

November 14, 2010 at 10:46

It was terrifying at times but to stop them is the goal. I just don’t understand why people want to watch pets fight (sometimes to the death) so they can bet money on it.