DOG FIGHTING IN SOME EUROPEAN COUNTRIES Orhan Yilmaz 1
Ardahan University, Vocational High School of Posof, 75000, Ardahan, Turkey *Correspondence: [email protected]
Abstract Aim of this paper is to revise dog fighting in some European countries. Dog fighting has been illegal in some world countries such as Canada, USA, in most South American countries, Australia, Afghanistan, India, Japan, Pakistan, and the Republic of South Africa. These blood sports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. Dog fighting and the possession of any fighting equipment designed for dog fighting is illegal in. In Russia which has part of Europe dogfighting is prohibited in much of the West. Key words: Canis familiaris, Pit Bull, blood sport, illegal sports, animal fight.
Introduction Domestic livestock animals serve humanity by giving plenty of products including meat, milk, egg, honey, floss silk, wool, fur, skin, feather, intestine, work, amusement etc (Ertugrul et al., 1993, Wilson & Yilmaz 2013a,b, Yilmaz & Ertugrul 2011, Yilmaz et al. 2011, Yilmaz 2012, Yilmaz & Ertugrul 2012a,b,c,d,e,f, Yilmaz et al. 2012a,b, Yilmaz et al. 2013a,b). Moreover some animals have been and continue to be used for fighting by some mentally abnormal people. In various regions of the world there are popular animal fighting events including fighting of bull, camel, cock, cricket, dog, horse, partridge and ram (Kohne and Ewigleben, 2000; Kalof, & Taylor 2007). For centuries usually dog fighting has been principally enjoyed by men. Unfortunately, the popularity of this activity has increased (Anon, 2014a). There was little initial interference from the law, since it was possible to fight two dogs in any hollow or shed without attracting much attention, for dogs fight with relatively little noise. They can
easily be removed after the fight, carried away in sacks if their condition was likely to draw suspicion (Drable, 2014). For example in USA dog attacks and bites are not so common (Hussain, 2005). Although more than 20 fatalities happened each year in USA because of dog biting, there was no report that a man did during dog fight, but the dog. Maybe the 20 fatalities because of dog biting seem as tragic but at least 8.000 humans were killed by other human each year which was 200 times more than dog biting deaths (Lockwood, 1995). The purpose of this paper is to review dog fighting in European countries.
Dog Fighting in Some European Countries These blood sports were officially eliminated in 1835 as Britain began to introduce animal welfare laws. Since dogfights were cheaper to organize and far easier to conceal from the law than bull or bear baits, blood sport proponents turned to pitting their dogs against each other instead. Dog fighting was used as both a blood sport (often involving gambling) and a way to continue to test the quality of their stock. For decades afterward, dog fighting clandestinely took place in pockets of working-class Britain and America. In recent years the inner cities, especially in London have seen a steady rise in the number of convictions for dog fighting, primarily among teenage youths of Pakistani descent (Anon, 2014e). A research study was carried out to discuss financial aspects of illegal dog-fighting in the UK and to reflect upon and discuss the difficulties of researching illegal entrepreneurial activities such as dogfighting which were operated for criminal profit. According to the study dog fighting activities were conducted by urban criminals often in a rural setting. Those crimes invariably occurred in a closed social environment to which the authorities and the academic researcher cannot legitimately gain access. In the case study the illegal activities can legitimately be regarded as being an entrepreneurial activity as they entail trading in a Kirznerian sense as well as financial implications associated with gambling (Smith, 2011).
Fighting Dogs Many dog breeds have been bred specifically for the strength, attitude, and physical features that would make them better fighting dogs. Some traits are common among most of fighting breeds that it’s outward appearance, a large, stocky, heavy breed with a powerful build and strongly developed head, and threatening voice (Massey 2012). Drable (2014) reported from Vesey-Fitzgerald that early fighting dogs were of all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors since their breeding was very promiscuous. In 1860s they were two groups, from one of which the English Bull Terrier was developed and from the other the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The both breeds were initially very game, since nobody would keep a bull terrier which was not, but men soon bred the English variety for show, and looks were "improved" at the expense of courage. The Staffordshire bull terrier continued to be bred for the pit and, though not very standardized even yet there is no living breed so game (Drable 2014). In USA about 30 percent of all dogs in animal shelters are pit bulls, the breed used for dogfighting. In some areas this figure can climb to 60 percent (Villavicencio 2007). For professional and hobbyist dogfighters, the sale of pups from parents who have won several fights is a major part of their activity. Underground dog fighting publications and websites are commonly used to advertise pups or the availability of breeding stock. Many "street" fighters think they can also make money by breeding and selling dogs, but a great number of these animals are killed or abandoned if they fail to perform (Anon 2014d). Generally all kinds of dogfighters crop the ears and dock the tails of fighting dogs. There are two main reasons. First it limits the areas of the body that another dog can grab onto in a fight. Secondly it makes it more difficult for other dogs to read the animal's mood and intentions through the normal body language cues dogs use in aggressive encounters. Fighters usually
perform this cropping or docking operation themselves using crude and inhumane techniques (Anon 2014d). Early dogs of the bull terrier type were bred for the working characteristic known as gameness, with the pitting of dogs against bear or bull testing this attribute along with the strength and skill of the dog. These early "proto-staffords" provided the ancestral foundation stock for the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier and American Staffordshire Terrier. This common ancestor was known as the "Bull and Terrier" (Anon 2014f). Generally the breeds of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Bull Terriers are called as pit bulls (Massey 2012). In other countries breeds of Bully Kutta, Caucasian Ovtcharka, Central Asian Ovtcharka, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, the Presa Canario, the Tosa Inu, and Turkish Kangal (Karabash) Shepherd are used for fighting (Gibson 2005, Ensminger 2010, Anon 2014d, Gasimzadeh 2014, Anon 2015a). Also some breeds are accepted as extinct such as Blue Paul Terrier, Bull and Terrier, Cordoba Fighting Dog, Dogo Cubano, English White Terrier, Molossus, Old English Bulldog dogs (Anon 2014d). It is often asked whether the Pit Bull is unsuitable as a family pet or not? In the early 1900s pit bulls were considered the epitome of the all American dog. For example Stubby, the first war hero dog and Pete the Pup, from “The Little Rascals” were very good examples of this breed (Hussain 2005). Although bred for fighting other dogs the American Pit Bull terrier has long been a popular family pet, noted for his strength, intelligence and devotion. It is clearly understandable that any dog can behave aggressively, depending on the context, his genetic background, and his upbringing and environment. If a dog is treated well, properly trained and thoroughly socialized during puppyhood and matched with the right kind of owner and household, it is likely to develop into a well-behaved companion and cherished member of the
family. However, some Pit Bulls and Pit Bull crossbreds may be more inclined to develop aggression toward other dogs (Anon 2014d). American Pit Bull Terrier is a wonderful dog breed, but it comes with risks. Being largejawed, it is more capable than many breeds of doing damage with its bites. As with any dog, pit bulls can be trained, and often are as calm as dogs can be, but people assume they are vicious because they have become popular with gangs and other unpopular members of American society (Ensminger 2012). Even though German Shepherd Dogs (GSD) do not seem a fighting dog breed, they are actually a biteable dog breed. Lockwood reported from a study realized by Berzon that GSDs made up 45% of the dogs listed in Baltimore bite reports. Lockwood also reported from a study realized by Moore about percentage of the registered population of various breeds that were involved in bites. The highest rankings in that research were pit bulls (12.3%), chow chows (11.4%), GSD (6.5%), Dobermans (4.3%) and Rotweilers (4.1%) (Lockwood 1995). A study claimed that the annual incidence of dog bites was 0.5 percent 1000 children between 0 and 16 years of age. The relative risk for a dog attack by a German shepherd or a Doberman was 5 times higher than that of a Labrador Retriever or cross-breed (Schalamon et al. 2005).
Fighters There are three types of dog fighters including street fighters, hobbyists, and professionals. Hobbyists and professionals often decry the techniques street fighters use to train their dogs. Such techniques include starving, drugging, and physically abusing the dog. Street fighters are frequently associated with gang activities. They fight dogs over insults, turf invasions, or simple taunts like "My dog can kill your dog”. These type of fights are often spontaneous, unorganized, conducted for money, drugs, or bragging rights. Urban street fighters generally have several dogs chained in back-yards, often behind privacy fences, or in basements or
garages. The dogs are often found by police and animal control officers either dead or dying after a street fight. Due to the spontaneity of a street fight, they are very difficult to respond to unless reported immediately. The second types of fighters are hobbyists. They fight dogs for supplemental income and entertainment purposes. They typically have one or more dogs participating in several organized fights and operate primarily within a specific geographic network. Hobbyists are also informed with one another and tend to return to predetermined fight venues repeatedly. The last types are professionals. Professionals breed generations of skilled "game dogs" and take a great pride in their dogs' lineage. Those fighters make a tremendous amount of money charging stud fees to breed their champions. They also earn the fees and winnings they collect for fighting them. Professionals also tend to own a large number of dogs which are sometimes 50 dogs or more (Gibson 2005, Ensminger 2010, Boucher 2011, Anon 2014b,d).
Place Dog fights are organized in places of variety of locations and at any time. In rural areas they may be impromptu events in a barn, outdoor pit, back alley, or carefully planned and staged enterprises in a location specially designed and maintained for the purpose. On the other hand in urban areas, fights may happen in garages, basements, warehouses, abandoned buildings, back alleys, neighborhood playgrounds, or even in the streets (Kalof and Talor 2007, Anon 2014a,c). In USA two dogs are put into a square pit, which measures from 3.5 to 6 meters on each side. The pit is surrounded by walls between 0.6 and 1.2 meters high and usually made of wood, plywood, hay bales, or chain link. There are two handlers and one referee in the pit with the dogs. During dogfight spectators surround the pit, the sides of which are wooden and three to four feet high. The dogfight starts when the referee tells the handlers to pit their dogs, at which time the dogs are released and attack (Forsyth and Evans 1998, Anon 2014d).
Conclusions It can be said that it is too difficult to understand that some people provide dog fighting events. According to those abnormal people dog fights are necessary and should be carried out (Gasimzadeh 2014). This kind of people is rare in community but they are always present in the community and always will be. The most important thing to prevent dog fighting is inform related police or gendarme forces. Also penalties should be more increased and dog fighters should be published in TVs.
Acknowledgements I would like to thank John Ensminger and Marc Paulhus for their constructive comments, careful scientific revision and English edit.
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