What You Should Know About Animal Fighting

Any breed of dog can be the victim of illegal animal fighting. Often small breed dogs, and even cats, are used to “bait” larger fighting dogs in order to encourage their fighting drive.

Anatomy of a Dog Fight

In a dog fight, two dogs are placed in a pit enclosed by plywood walls, where they must fight before a cheering crowd until one dog is too injured or exhausted to continue. The fights may last from several minutes to more than two hours, and the dogs usually suffer painful injuries, including multiple puncture wounds, deep lacerations, and broken bones. Dogs often die from dehydration, blood loss, infection, exhaustion or shock as a result of the fight, and owners may kill the losing dogs by gunshot or other inhumane methods.

Anatomy of a Cock Fight

In a cock fight, specially bred roosters, called gamecocks, are pitted against each other in small arenas with razor-sharp, three-inch steel blades attached to their legs. There, trained to fight and often drugged with stimulants and steroids, they plunge and slash each other in a deadly duel. The gaffs inflict deep puncture wounds, wings and legs are broken, and eyes are gouged out. A cockfight usually results in the death of one of the birds and sometimes in the death of both.

Street Fighting

Impromptu “street fighting” between two dogs in public often involves local gang members, who will encourage their animals to engage in this activity to give themselves status among their peers. The dogs involved in street fighting are often used as “weapons”, making them considerably more dangerous to any individual. These are the dogs most likely to be seen by members of the community.

Warning Signs

Here are just a few of the possible warning signs of illegal animal fighting:

  • The Condition of the Animals. Dogs may be missing pieces of their ears, tails, toes, or an eye. Recent bite marks or scars will be seen around their necks, shoulders, and legs. Birds may be shaved on their chests and their combs and wattles may be cut off.
  • Suspicious Activity in Your Neighborhood. Two or more Pit Bulls (the most commonly used breed) tied up in a yard with heavy chains around their necks. A tire or piece of thick rubber hung from a tree or pole in an effort to strengthen a dog’s jaws. A lot of traffic coming and going in one area (from both humans and dogs). The cars may have out-of-state license plates.

NC Animal Fighting Law

§ 14-362.2. Dog fighting and baiting

  • A person who instigates, promotes, conducts, is employed at, provides a dog for, allows property under the person's ownership or control to be used for, gambles on, or profits from an exhibition featuring the baiting of a dog or the fighting of a dog with another dog or with another animal is guilty of a Class H felony. A lease of property that is used or is intended to be used for an exhibition featuring the baiting of a dog or the fighting of a dog with another dog or with another animal is void, and a lessor who knows this use is made or is intended to be made of the lessor's property is under a duty to evict the lessee immediately.
  • A person who owns, possesses, or trains a dog with the intent that the dog be used in an exhibition featuring the baiting of that dog or the fighting of that dog with another dog or with another animal is guilty of a Class H felony.
  • A person who participates as a spectator at an exhibition featuring the baiting of a dog or the fighting of a dog with another dog or with another animal is guilty of a Class H felony.
  • This section does not prohibit the use of dogs in the lawful taking of animals under the jurisdiction and regulation of the Wildlife Resources Commission.

§ 14-362. Cock fighting

A person who instigates, promotes, conducts, is employed at, allows property under his ownership or control to be used for, participates as a spectator at, or profits from an exhibition featuring the fighting of a cock is guilty of a Class I felony. A lease of property that is used or is intended to be used for an exhibition featuring the fighting of a cock is void, and a lessor who knows this use is made or is intended to be made of his property is under a duty to evict the lessee immediately.

Your Role

If you suspect that animals are being bred, raised, and/or trained for use in fighting exhibitions, don’t ever intervene yourself. People involved in this activity are often quite dangerous, and it’s not uncommon for illegal drugs and guns to be present at animal fights. Please contact:

  • Forsyth County Department of Animal Control
    (336) 703-2490
  • Winston-Salem Police Department
    (336) 773-7700