ARM investigators have spent months undercover at the more professional dogfighting rings, Kudo says. "The minimum [number of] spectators on a weekly basis is 500 people. They have valets. They have a casino type of atmosphere. They have roulette wheels, backgammon, dominos. There can be a minimum bet of $5,000 per fight."
In one operation, he says, almost a million dollars changed hands on a daily basis.
Kudo says his organization will work diligently to create the appropriate friendships in order to get on the inner circle of a dogfighting operation. "The only reason we knew [at one operation] they were fighting dogs is that we were seeing the cockfighting ring, and as we were looking at the carpet - all rings are lined with carpet on the inside walls - we could see bloody paw prints on the ring's carpeted area. So, we knew they were fighting dogs." (It's not uncommon for dogfighters to also engage in cockfighting, where roosters are held in a ring and forced to fight in a similar manner to fight dogs. Cockfighting is illegal in the U.S.)
Only VIPs are invited to the upscale dogfights, says Kudo. "You have to be able to throw down serious money," he says. "That can be about $20,000 a pop. Everyone is wearing guns." Some of ARM's own investigators have been checked for wires and "borderline strip-searched," says Kudo, before entering a fight.
Street-based fighting is decidedly different, he says, and more culture-based. Kudo says these sorts of dogfights predominantly take place in U.S. inner cities, inside warehouses and small venues. "They move [their location] on fight night because they are in populated areas and they don't want people to hear."
In fact, in Miami, he says, dogfighters have recently created a new way of fighting dogs. They call it "trunking."
"They throw two dogs into a trunk and drive the car around town while they blast music," Kudo says. "Then they come back to the location where they have their betters, open the trunk and see which dog is alive."
Sometimes in "trunking," small dogs are put in a trunk with a larger dog "just to see if it will be killed," says Kudo. "For fun."
A dog used for "trunking," who later diedARM