Dog fighting is one of the most gruesome examples of animal abuse in our country. In the wake of the high profile Michael Vick dog fighting bust, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the inhumane treatment that dogs used for the purpose of fighting are subjected too.
It is also becoming known that dog fighting is more common then one may have previously thought. The stakes are high and tens of thousands of dollars are often on the line in these horrendous arranged dog fights. Illegal in all 50 states, and a felony offense in almost every state, dog fighting results in the severe injury, trauma and often death of those dogs that are abused in this manner.
In May, Georgia passed new legislation to strengthen the state’s dog fighting laws. Now it is a felony to own, possess, train, transport or sell a dog for the purpose of fighting. These new laws assist authorities in catching and prosecuting those who are involved in this treacherous activity.
The ASPCA and Humane Society teamed up last week to take down a dogfighting ring in Georgia - and their success in the raid of Shake Down Kennels, an alleged dog fighting kennel resulted in the kennel’s owner being charged with eight counts of felony dog fighting, one count for each of the 7 pit bulls rescued and an additional count for possession of dog fighting paraphernalia.
The ASPCA’s Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit, was on-site to allow the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics, Dr. Melinda Merck to examine and care for any victims immediately, as well as gather and process all of the forensic evidence right at the scene.
This is the first dog fighting bust in Georgia since the strengthened legislation passed and the kennel owner faces up to $5,000 in fines and a prison sentence of 1-5 years for each of the counts filed against him. Dr. Merck believes that Georgia’s new laws will enable authorities to continue to crackdown successfully on this gruesome practice.
“Dog fighting cases are very complex, and it sometimes takes multiple resources in order to effectively bring them down. Now that Georgia’s animal fighting law really has some teeth, we should expect a serious crackdown on dog fighters in this great state in the months and years to come,” said Dr. Merck.
If you suspect a dog fighting organization, immediately contact your local Humane Society or ASPCA office. Anonymous tips are vital to bringing this practice to an end and saving innocent animals. For more information on dog fighting and what you can do to help, please click here.