Dog Fighting

Dog fighting is a blood sport which has been practised in countries across the world for many centuries. It is now widely banned, but continues to take place, often in connection with the criminal underworld.

Dog fighting appears to have taken place for thousands of years, and was popular throughout Roman times, through the Middle Ages and beyond. It is now banned in many countries but continues to flourish, often in connection with other crimes. In a typical dog fight, two dogs are pitted against each other until one wins either through killing or seriously injuring the other. Fighting dogs are usually specifically bred to produce certain attributes such as strength, aggression and physical features. Spectators will often place wagers on the outcome of a fight and large sums of money will often change hands during dog fighting tournaments.

What is it?

Dog Fighting is a blood sport in which dogs are made to fight, sometimes to the death. Although illegal in most developed countries, dog fighting still takes place away from the eyes of the police.

What you should know

  • Dog fighting was banned in the UK in 1835, but evidence shows that it is gaining in popularity again. Dog fighting in the UK often takes place in urban parks and other open spaces in inner cities, and owners will set their dogs against each other on chains.
  • Animal welfare organisations consider dog fighting to be one of the most serious forms of animal abuse, not only for the violence that the dogs endure during and after the fights, but because of the suffering they often endure in training.
  • Other animals are often used as “bait” to test a fighting dog’s abilities. These animals may be foxes, badgers, rabbits, cats and smaller dogs. These bait animals will sometimes have their teeth and nails filed down or removed to prevent any possible harm to the fighting dog.

What you can do

  • Dog fighting is illegal in most countries in the world. If you have strong evidence that dog fighting may be taking place where you are visiting, consider discreetly contacting the local police.
  • Please be careful that you do not put yourself in any danger though, as the dog fighting world is heavily linked to serious organised crime. Depending on the country, you should also be prepared for the fact that the police may be totally disinterested.
  • The League Against Cruel Sports runs a confidential Fighting Dogs Crimewatch telephone line (01483 524 250) and deals with information on dog fighting in the UK.

Where is this applicable?

Dog fighting is banned in all first world countries, with the exception of Japan. However, there is evidence that illegal dog fighting is on the rise in many countries.

Dog fighting is particularly widespread in countries including South Africa, Russia and across South-East Asia.

Links to other organisations for further information

This article was contributed by the League Against Cruel Sports