Dogfighting has been a continuous problem. It is a situation where two dogs are put into a pit and fight until one dog can no longer continue and can last up to two hours. These dogs are bred and trained for the specific purpose to fight. These events are open to families where children are allowed to watch. It is a place for illegal gambling, drug use and dealing. With all these considerations, dogfights are a misdemeanor in some states carrying a minimal fine. It is a felony in the state of Wisconsin for individuals who organize and run these events and a misdemeanor for those who attend them. It has been a particular problem in Milwaukee where an ongoing investigation ended in the apprehension of twelve individuals in 2012. At the scene they found a wooden dogfighting pit in the basement and three Pit Bull dogs with obvious fighting injuries. Another apprehension in Milwaukee in 2011 found a fighting pit and an electrical device used to kill dogs.
Training a dog to fight uses harsh and extremely cruel methods. Dogs are social animals that instinctively run in packs fighting dogs are isolated from other dogs and are kept on short chains. Some dogs are chained just out of reach from other dogs adding frustration to their situation. They are injected with steroids and other drugs to make them strong and run on treadmills for several hours to build endurance. Some dogs are beaten if they stop fighting. Bait dogs are those dogs that will not fight or are stolen pets.
Officials have found that spectators are at risk as much as the dogs. Children become insensitive to animal suffering and may have a tendency for violence and disrespect for the law. Adults gamble thousands of dollars and can possess illegal weapons. Drug use and dealing also takes place at these events. Those participating in dog fighting whether active or spectator may exhibit violent behavior within their family and later commit violent crimes that can lead to homicide.
The results of experience on the dog are horrendous. The favorite breed is the Staffordshire dogs that have been crossed with other dogs for specific traits. These dogs have powerful jaws that can break bones and inflict deep puncture and tearing wounds. Dogs that want to back down in a fight will lie on its back, a normal submissive posture exposing the vulnerable soft tissue. In a normal situation the very short fight would end but this is not the case in a dogfight situation. In many instances dogs die of blood loss, shock, exhaustion or infection hours or days after a fight.
Milwaukee area residents observing animals kept in these questionable conditions can contact the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission.