BY GENA HUFF, Editor
After a local arrest involving a dog fighting charge and the multiple disappearances of puppies and large dogs in Sapps and neighboring communities, citizens of Pickens County are concerned and appalled at the idea of such a barbaric and abusive practice happening in the community, right under their noses.
Some blame law enforcement for not putting a stop to it. However, you can’t just go in and arrest people because of suspicions. Dog fighting is, for the most part, an underground operation and can be extremely difficult to infiltrate. Compare it to a major narcotic sting operation except the evidence in these cases includes living animals that must be sheltered.
As for Alabama State law, it is a Class C felony for any person to own, possess, keep or train any dog with the intent that such dog shall be engaged in an exhibition of fighting with another dog. As of 2008, dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Possession of dogs for the purpose of fighting is also a felony offense in most states. Being a spectator at a dog fight is illegal in ALL states.
The American Pit Bull Terrier is used most often for dog fighting. This does not mean a pit bull is unsuitable as a family pet. Any dog can behave aggressively based on the way it is trained and socialized.
Fighting dogs must be kept isolated from other dogs and most spend their lives on short, heavy chains, often just out of reach of other dogs. They are most likely unsocialized to other dogs and most people. Conditioning of the dog may include drugs, both legal and illegal, such as steroids for building body mass and narcotics to increase aggression and mask pain or fear.
Fighting dogs will most likely have cropped ears and tails docked close to the body. This limits areas for the competing dog to grab and also makes it harder for dogs to read the body language of an opponent. Many times, the cropping or docking of the ears and tail are accomplished through inhumane techniques. This can mean additional criminal charges.
See complete story in the Pickens County Herald.