Dog-Fighting, Cockfighting Rings Shut Down from GA to CA

The more aggressive dogs I’ve encountered while knocking on doors for candidates and causes in Alabama, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, upstate New York, Indiana, Wisconsin and even a few in Wyoming have been bred to keep intruders away, as I was reminded Saturday when a huge Husky trapped me on his owner's porch with his teeth brandished. However, the hundreds of dogs and gamecocks freed Monday were trained to finish the job and go for the kill.

My encounter Saturday was almost a repeat of an incident in Indiana last year – I did not see a dog just trying to get a nap in a shade just out of my view and suddenly I was extending the left forearm to keep the bite on my weak arm if it happened, while repeating a firm "No!" Luckily, both stories ended up with my congratulating owners on their dogs doing their jobs well, and more importantly on the owner arriving in time to keep up my perfect record of still never being bitten in tact.

Dogs are trained to kill in other countries such as Pakistan (see photo), but the size of dog-fighting operations became more clear six years ago during the investigation in Surry, Virginia, that ultimately led to the conviction of Michael Vick. On Monday, authorities seized 260 of 367 pit bull terriers in Alabama, the state where I had my encounter Saturday. Lest any regional jokes be made, California topped the news hours later when 267 gamecocks were sized in raids there, the week after a raid discovered cockfighting further up the West Coast in Oregon.

The dog-fighting raid was the second biggest in history, and spanned from Georgia to Texas.

The Humane Society of the United States announced the dog fighting arrests on their website, while the Sacramento Bee announced the cockfight arrests in California.

Farm Bureaus have worked to attempt to craft measures that stop cockfighting while guarding against the Humane Society working language into the bills that would stop poultry or other farming operations.

The Humane Society has raised tens of millions of dollars with commercials about stranded animals after national disasters, but have in turn spent large sums on lobbying and political efforts to change laws. They also receive widespread goodwill when people bring in animals to local Humane Societies even though these have no connection to the Humane Society of the United States.

The clash over philosophies regarding animals does not extend to the consensus that dogs should be trained to protect owners rather than tear each other apart, and that hens should lay eggs instead of being used to breed gamecocks, so today all were on the same page and can be happy about the arrests that shut down these operations. The legislative and political battles over animal care - which farmers point out is the area in which they have the most first hand experience - can be saved for another day.


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