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Why Animal Fighting Penalties Should Be Strengthened: Crack-Down on Illegal Animal Fights

Updated on June 22, 2014
Cock fights are one of the most common forms of illegal animal fights, and often result in severely injured or dead animals.
Cock fights are one of the most common forms of illegal animal fights, and often result in severely injured or dead animals. | Source

Every day we see more instances in the news of illegal animal fighting rings being broken up or individuals being arrested for having animals that show obvious signs of intentional fighting. Throughout the world various blood sports of this kind are still common practice, though illegal in many areas now. The animals are generally treated very badly and their wounds are rarely tended by veterinarians because of the illegal methods used to inflict them. Animals that lose consistently and are therefore not profitable are often subjected to horrible deaths, sometimes even to please crowds of fight-goers.

Get the Edge in Fighting Animal Cruelty Cases (Animal Law, 1)
Get the Edge in Fighting Animal Cruelty Cases (Animal Law, 1)

Animal cruelty in all forms is hard to prosecute, and many offenders get plea deals and walk away virtually unscathed. Nothing stops them from committing further crimes against animals. This book helps walk you through the process so you can help get a conviction for a known animal abuser.


Right now, anyone caught with fighting animals can be charged, fined and imprisoned for animal cruelty and a number of other criminal charges. These people can be charged with illegal gambling, sometimes even endangering other people's lives if their animals attack anyone. Charges for running an illegal kennel or keeping animals that aren't allowed by the municipality can sometimes temporarily shut down the people who keep or raise fighting animals. It's rarely enough to discourage participation in these blood sports.

At this time, the penalties for illegal animal fighting in some states are as low as $250 and/or a year in prison. More often, people suspected of illegal animal fighting can get a deal to lower the charges if they give up their animals to authorities. Some may be able to cut a deal by giving away the location of fights, or implicating others for participation in the fights.

A step beyond animal cruelty

It is a well-established fact that animal fights are extreme examples of cruelty to animals. This in itself is enough reason to throw the book of the law at anyone caught doing the minds of animal lovers, anyway. In the eyes of the law, it may merit an animal cruelty conviction, or some form of "cease and desist" from the municipality. Unfortunately, this in itself carries a much more lenient penalty than these offenders truly deserve. To really appreciate just how much damage these people can do in society and therefore what charges should be brought against them, one must take into consideration all the other factors involved.

Think dog fights aren't a problem because they're illegal? Think again.

The backlash of illegal fighting

Shelters all over the country contain pitiful Pit Bulls, Rottweilers and other powerfully-built animals that are branded unadoptable. These breeds generally produce good-natured animals that love people, but because of their powerful frame they are often the target of people who wish to capitalize on them in dog fights. They raise the animals to hate anything that moves, abusing them mercilessly until they attack anything with all their might. Some of these dogs can be rehabilitated, but the answer for most of them is euthanasia.

The "bully breeds" are powerful animals with a fearsome look. Though they're generally mild-mannered and often great family dogs, but illegal dog fighters have given the breeds a bad name.
The "bully breeds" are powerful animals with a fearsome look. Though they're generally mild-mannered and often great family dogs, but illegal dog fighters have given the breeds a bad name. | Source

These animals that have been brought up to be vicious can be a danger to society as a whole. The likelihood that these animals will attack and severely maul a human is very high. Even rehabilitated animals have to be kept away from children and must be closely monitored for the duration of their lives. Such animals have been treated in ways that can cause mental issues, but it also means that they are never socialized with humans before their rescue from the fighting world.

Fighting encourages sociopathic tendencies

Indulging in animal fighting in and of itself, as a spectator or an animal keeper, reveals some disturbingly sociopathic traits. These are people that do not empathize with the pain of another creature and see nothing wrong with regularly inflicting pain, as well as killing losing animals in grotesque ways. By feeding these tendencies on a regular basis, the lines between right and wrong may begin to blur in other facets of life as well.

Cock fighting is gaining momentum as an animal blood sport because the animals are easy to keep in small spaces, and require less care than larger animals such as dogs.
Cock fighting is gaining momentum as an animal blood sport because the animals are easy to keep in small spaces, and require less care than larger animals such as dogs. | Source

Because of these reasons, people arrested for raising animals for fighting and fighting them in a ring, whatever the type of the animal, should have compounded charges brought against them. Mere animal cruelty charges simply do not suffice for the extent of this crime. Individuals should, therefore, be charged with not only animal cruelty, but also with endangering others (whether the animal attacks or not, it could and would if given a chance) as well as any other applicable charges. Additionally, all states should require mental treatment for these individuals, though they should not be considered criminally insane.

The damage that animal fighting does both to animals and humans is astronomical, therefore the penalties should be much stiffer for both fighters and spectators. Not only will this hopefully reduce the number of people willing to risk imprisonment and hefty fines, but hopefully also reduce the numbers of unadoptable shelter dogs as well as serious animal attacks on humans.


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    • wychic profile image

      Rebecca Mikulin 7 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Yes, luckily we do have the SPCA, and they are actively working to strengthen penalties and prosecute offenders...but, unfortunately, anything that has to do with the law or government is almost always unbearably slow, especially for something like animal cruelty which the government seems to think is of very low concern. I suppose I can see where some might think that, but that's why I think it's important for people who aren't necessarily animal lovers to understand the underlying pathology in animal abuse...if they can't care about these helpless creatures, at least the possibility that children are next might rouse them.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 7 years ago from London, UK

      I agree with you. Its cruel and sadly people are now using it as a way of making money. In UK, we have RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) which is involved in animal safety and they can prosecute. I hope you have something similar in US.

    • wychic profile image

      Rebecca Mikulin 8 years ago from Sheridan, Wyoming

      Yes, I do understand, which I way I said in the article that animal fights are extreme examples of animal cruelty. Unfortunately, there are far too many people who would turn a blind eye to how living creatures are being treated unless it involves humans...and even then, some people just don't care or choose to pretend that it doesn't go on. Through repeated exposure, even the most electively blind person may someday have to take into account what is going on in the world that desperately needs to be changed.

    • profile image

      Pura Nasheed Henry 8 years ago

      thats so... stupid do you not understand what im saying that is cruel to watch i didnt even finish the video they showed me it brought tears to my eyes to see people watching dogs and other animals fight against each other like do you not uderstand the perdicument that there in gos this is terrifing and i WONT STAND TO WATCH IT

    • Eternal Evolution profile image

      Eternal Evolution 8 years ago from kentucky

      great hub. I also think that the penalities for dog fighting should be incressed. It is a horrible way for people to seek "entertainment" It needs to be stopped.


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