6 min read

Puppies Saved From Dogfighting Ring Are So Happy To See Rescuers

“Dogfighting is all about making money. It’s about treating dogs as a commodity, and not as living creatures."

Some dogs were tethered to heavy, metal chains; others were locked up in filthy kennels. They had no food, water or protection from the heat or cold. But the saddest thing was that the dogs would eventually be pushed into a fighting ring, where they’d be forced to fight other dogs to the death.

Last week, officers from the ASPCA, working alongside the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), went to a property in Bendena, Kansas, to collect evidence of an illegal dogfighting ring and to rescue 45 dogs on the property.

Dog kept in filthy cage

“It was a typical property associated with dogfighting,” Joel Lopez, operations director for ASPCA field investigations and response, told The Dodo. “We found dogs with injuries that were consistent with dogfighting.”

The ASPCA officers also found dogfighting paraphernalia on the property.

Man rescuing dog from fighting ring

“This is an ongoing case, so I can’t be too specific,” Lopez said. “But paraphernalia associated with dogfighting are treadmills used to condition dogs. And some of the chains are also designed to build endurance and strength.”

The dogs were kept in what Lopez described as “deplorable conditions,” and it didn’t look like any of the dogs had received medical care.

Person holding rescued puppy

“Dogfighting is all about making money,” Lopez said. “It’s about treating dogs as a commodity, and not as living creatures.”

The officers also found nine puppies — the owners may have been breeding the dogs to make even more money.

Puppies behind fence

“They were living outside, separated from their mothers at an early age,” Lopez said. “They appeared to be emaciated. Some of those dogs required IV fluids prior to transport.”

While most of the rescued dogs had experienced the horrors of the fighting ring, the puppies had not — and it was rewarding for the ASPCA officers to save the puppies from that fate, Lopez said.

Person touching tiny puppy through fence

“They won’t need to learn what’s it’s like to fight in a ring for survival, and be chained up in a yard, and fight for survival there as well, with limited food and resources to be healthy and happy,” Lopez said.

The 45 rescued dogs and puppies were taken to a safe but undisclosed location, where a team of vets, animal behaviorists and carers are looking after all of the dogs’ needs.

Woman carrying rescued dog in her arms

“We’re giving these dogs the best possible chance we can put together for them,” Lopez said. “And that includes every facet of their lives — their nutrition, their treatment, keeping them having fun, keeping them stimulated.”

Person rescuing dog from fighting ring

Two people have already been arrested in association with this dogfighting ring, and they’re facing numerous charges. While the investigation is ongoing, the dogs will remain at the temporary shelter. But eventually, the dogs will be put up for adoption.

“If these dog don’t have to fight, then they don’t fight, and they don’t want to fight,” Lopez said. “And many of these dogs end up living in homes with other animals.”

Rescuer holding pit bull in his arms

These 45 dogs and puppies were lucky to be rescued, but dogfighting is still a huge problem in the U.S., despite it being a felony in all 50 states. It’s estimated that there are hundreds of thousands of dogs in illegal dogfighting rings across the nation — and organizations like the ASPCA are working hard to shut the industry down.

To help these 45 dogs recover, and to help save other dogs from fighting rings, you can make a donation to the ASPCA. And if you suspect dogfighting is happening in your local community, please contact the authorities.