Editorial: Bloodsport stupidity — Why do some people get their kicks by abusing dogs in fighting rings?
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Aug 26, 2013 | 2263 views |  0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this Aug. 23, 2013, photo provided by the ASPCA, dogs sit at a home in Auburn, Ala. A federal and state investigation into dog fighting and gambling has resulted in the arrest of 12 people from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. U.S. Attorney George Beck said Monday, Aug. 26 that at least 12 are charged with conducting an illegal gambling business and multiple dog fighting charges, including promoting dog fights. Photo:The Associated Press/ASPCA
In this Aug. 23, 2013, photo provided by the ASPCA, dogs sit at a home in Auburn, Ala. A federal and state investigation into dog fighting and gambling has resulted in the arrest of 12 people from Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. U.S. Attorney George Beck said Monday, Aug. 26 that at least 12 are charged with conducting an illegal gambling business and multiple dog fighting charges, including promoting dog fights. Photo:The Associated Press/ASPCA
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Last Friday, Alabama rested at the center of a federal dog-fighting raid in which 367 pit bulls were rescued across three different states. If it matters, that’s the second-largest dog-fighting raid in the nation’s history.

The dogs are safe and will be rehabilitated and placed in homes, authorities said.

Police arrested 12 suspects, many of them from in and around Lee County, and they deserve their fair day in court.

Yet, we can’t help but wonder about the mentality of those who feel joy when betting on a bloodsport that is nothing less than animal cruelty. Like its cousin, cockfighting, dog fighting isn’t a harmless pasttime. It’s an orchestrated killing field in which animals are abused for human enjoyment. It has no redeeming value. The byproducts that often come with backyard gambling — drug use, gun violence — only make the crime of dog fighting more severe.

The 2007 conviction of NFL quarterback Michael Vick brought the seediest, bloodiest sides of dog fighting into the American consciousness. Rarely had the truth about this “sport” been seen by so many people. We will never thank Vick for his role in that effort, but it’s clear that without his celebrity status, his Virginia-based dog-fighting ring would have been just another successful bust by federal authorities.

Here in Alabama, law enforcement said the dogs confiscated last week were living in nasty conditions and held by heavy chains to their necks. No fresh water or food was available. Wounds and scars were prevalent on many of the dogs.

It takes a special type of person to enjoy the pain of another living being, be they human or animal. We feel U.S. Attorney George Beck spoke for many when he said, “It is a sad commentary, I think, on our affluent society who has to have this underground culture and indulgence of violence that we also see spreading over onto our streets and into our homes.”

You needn’t be a dog-lover to understand the evil of raising animals to shed blood for gambling and human enjoyable. It’s a despicable activity whose eradication couldn’t come too soon.
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