CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - Dog fighting continues to be an ongoing problem that won't go away.
That became evident after a Pit Bull mix named Abbey escaped from a fenced play yard at the Humane Educational Society
. While searching for Abbey in the immediate area, some individuals boldly told volunteers that she would make a good fight dog and that she fits the description of what dog fighting owners are looking for.
"She's a really sweet dog and we are hoping we can get her back as soon as possible. We are concerned that someone may take her just to use her for a fighting dog," HES Executive Director Bob Citrullo.
According to Citrullo, Abbey gets along very well with humans but not that well with other dogs. Out on the street, that's a golden combination for people who are into dog fighting.
"They're looking for a dog that has game. And when they mean it has game; this dog will fight to the butter end," Jaime McAloon Lampman.
Lampman is the Executive Director of McKamey Animal Center
. She is also a former dog fighting investigator who says dog fighting is usually linked to other crimes.
"With dog fighting comes gambling and prostitution. There's a number of illegal weapons there for sure and drugs. Every element in the world you do not want in your neighborhood is in dog fighting so to turn a blind eye to dog fighting is to turn your back on a plethora of other crimes that are occuring," Lampman said.
Workers at at the Humane Society told WDEF that people who are into dog fighting have become so bold that it's not uncommon for someone to walk through the front door and state their intentions as to why they want to adopt a pit bull.
"Some people will come right out and say I'm really interested in this breed because; even though we're the Humane Society. We've heard heard that here and of course that's very easy to turn them away," Citrullo said.
There has also been occasions in the past when people have reportedly broke into the Humane Society to steal a Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls are typically the dogs of choice when it comes to dog fighting. Just recently, McKamey rescued a Pit Bull that was involved in organized dog fighting.
"It had a broken leg. It had hundreds and hundreds of old battle wounds new battle wounds. It was tore up and in horrible condition," Lampman said.
There were reported witnesses but no one is coming forward.
McKamey is now offering a $2,250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of people involved with the case.
Dog fighting is sometimes a tough crime to crack-down on because of the need for burden of proof.
"A lot of times it's well hidden and difficult to get proof," Citrullo said.
Without proof, it's hard to get a warrant to enter someone's property to remove the dogs let alone make an arrest. But there are some things to look out for:
- Outdoor Treadmills - Used to builds a dogs strength and endurance. It may have tethers or a harness attached to hold animals in place.
- Prysticks or Breaking Sticks - usually broom or hammer handles used to pry open a dog's jaws during a fight.
- Pit Walls - Plywood boards of doors used to create a fighting arena.
- Blood soiled Carpet
- Weight Collars
- Chewed-up Bike Tires and Hanging Scales
- Drugs - Antibiotics and steroids
Dogs used for fighting are also in a specific condition at fighting scenes and the condition may vary depending on the type of dog. For example:
- Professional fighting dogs are in excellent condition, fat and healthy. They have old scars and new scars and cropped ears.
- The majority of wounds seen are located wither on the head, chest or front legs.
- Necropsies done on dogs killed by Pit Bulls often reveal crushing and tearing injuries under the external injuries.
And even though Pit Bulls are the canines of choice when it comes to dog fighting, Akitas, Mastiffs and Shar Peis are also used in the ring.
As HES workers continue to hold out hope that Abbey will turn up somewhere, they also know there is a desire by criminals to take her in and use her for something awful and illegal.
If anyone has seen Abbey they are asked to immediately contact the Humane Education Society at (423) 624-5302 or McKamee Animal Center at (423) 305-6500.(Pictures of Abbey under Slideshow)
Abbey is young black Pit Bull mix that was last seen on Friday. She was wearing a bright green bandana around her neck when she escaped the shelter.