Celebrating Survivors, Fighting for Victims: Two Dogfighting Cases Underscore Efforts to End the Violence

Five years ago this week, the ASPCA assisted in the removal of 367 dogs across three states in what is believed to have been the second-largest dogfighting raid in U.S. history. The raid came after a three-year-long investigation and resulted in the convictions of thirteen individuals. This case was remarkable, as nearly 400 dogs needed care and rehabilitation after their rescues. But thanks to help from a large number of partner rescues and shelters, hundreds of these dogs were given a second chance at a life away from cruelty and heinous abuse. 

Earlier this year, we caught up with Bam, one of the many victims we met after this raid. As we enter Bam’s home, it is clear that this 110 lb. dog was never meant to be a fighter—only a lover. Bam’s pet parent Lacey was working as a veterinarian technician when she first met him, and she tells us that there was something about this big dog that struck her. She knew that he was meant to be a part of her expanding family. 

Lacey, herself a survivor of assault, tells us that she and Bam lean on each other for support, and that they “rescued each other.” Since his adoption, he’s taken on a number of duties in his new household. He’s acted as a rock to Lacey and as a big, lovable nanny to her two young children, whom he dotes on and looks after. 

In his home, Bam sits proudly next to Saylor, Lacey’s daughter, who recently celebrated her first birthday with Bam by her side, while two-year-old Jackson lovingly pats him on the head—feeding him bits of cheese. That big, strong jaw is constantly turned up into a smile and his tail rarely stops wagging. Lacey recently told us that she sometimes wakes up to find Jackson sleeping in Bam’s bed—the two are inseparable best friends.

Bam is the picture of a beloved, family pet, and a perfect example of why we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. 

Bam’s story mirrors many victims’ after their rescue. Ruby, went on to become a registered therapy dog, while senior dog Silver joined a loving family. As we look back on this case, we reflect on not only the happy endings we have seen, but on the work that is still left to be done. Dogfighting is still happening in every corner of the country and in every type of community. 

Last week, we assisted with the removal of 45 dogs from a suspected dogfighting ring in Kansas. There, we saw dogs in kennels with limited food and water, a few dogs on chains with limited shelter—one of which was tethered with not one, but three large chains—and nearly all of them had scars littered across their bodies. While we care for these animals, we know that there are still others out there, depending on us to fight for them. Every dog matters, whether it be ten or 367, we will keep fighting to not only save them, but to end this deplorable practice. 

Take a look at photos from inside our most recent case below, and know that your support for the ASPCA helps us to help animals like these each and every day. Together, we will keep working to break the chain of cruelty for dogfighting victims.

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