Warning: This story may disturb some readers.
With all of the attention brought to light towards dogfighting due to the investigation involving Michael Vick’s property, Newsweek spoke to a detective for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to better understand what happens in the world of dogfighting. Detective C.R. Beals has been focusing on dogfighting for more than 10 years and has been an expert witness in numerous dogfighting cases.
Detective Beals explains that there are three different types of dogfighting: professional, hobbyists (these are aspiring to be professionals), and street-level fighters (these people torture their dog into being mean and will fight anything).
The professional dog fighters are very well organized and extremely secretive and they will even fly dogs across the United States. The dogs are put in specific weight classes. The start of the fight begins when the dogs turn around and face each other. There is a scratch line and when a dog “scratches” (crosses this line), the dog is ready for the fight and the fight begins.
More on dogfighting after the jump.
Detective Beals explains that actual death during the fight is not as often as most people would think. During the fight, the dogs will be stopped short of death. The owners of the dogs will apply their own veterinary medicine and mostly, dogs will die of infection, die of shock after the fight or they are injured so badly that they expire.
To condition the dogs, the owners will have dogs pull around weighted sleds. There is also a spring pole “which is simply either a tree or a large pole with a spring or a cable or tire on it and the dog will jump up and grab it. He will actually hang on to it and bounce and have his own personal tug of war.”
To catch dog fighters, authorities will use informants and people in the neighborhood that have noticed something strange going on. The most prominent type of dogfighting is the street -level dogfighting because “it’s in your face and practiced by gangs. They’ll use anything that has four legs.”
Detective Beals states that not only are professional athletes involved in dogfighting but also there have been law enforcement officers, professional people, blue-collar people and gangsters involved in this crime.