The recent federal indictment of NFL quarterback Michael Vick on charges related to dogfighting has increased public awareness of this secretive, violent, long-practiced activity. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) condemns dogfighting and any event involving animals in which injury or death is intended, and supports the enforcement of laws against dogfighting and dogfight-related activities. AVMA members are encouraged to collaborate with law enforcement with respect to recognition, enforcement, and education.
Despite the fact that dogfighting is outlawed in all 50 states and the Animal Fighting Prohibition Enforcement Act of 2007 increases the penalties for dogfighting-related activities, the brutal contests seem to be increasing in many parts of the country, particularly in the rural South and large urban centers.
Dogfighting originated during ancient times, when dogs were used in war. However, it has evolved into a blood sport, resulting in severe injury or death of animals. Dogs bred and trained for fighting are aggressive, often dangerous, and unsafe to introduce into society as pets; therefore, the majority of animals seized are euthanatized.
To view the AVMA’s policy statement on animal fighting, visit www.avma.org/issues/policy/animal_welfare/fighting.asp.