Animal Abuse, Dog Fighting

Illegal Dog Fighting Rings and Bait Dogs

Loois is a 100-pound pit bull who was once used as bait for the training of fighting dogs as a young puppy. Typically, the controversial pit bulls are the other end of this tragic situation where man pits dog against dog for commercial gain in professional dog fights, with pit bulls as game-bred dogs in their original form. But Loois was different. Loois was the bait itself.

Thankfully the story of Loois reached Maria, the wife of a retired police officer who now resides in Suncrest, Washington. She and her husband, Craig Mosher, adopted Loois after back surgery was done to repair his back which caused damage to the dog’s spinal cord, causing the little pit bull to lose use of his hind legs.

Today, the 100-pound rescued pit bull is healthy and happy, with Mosher himself being the dog’s hind leg support as the two best friends jog along exercising. An act of caring for a severely injured animal with a disability has been transformed to a tale of love and devotion.

VIDEO: Loois and Craig Mosher

The dog used as bait in the training exercises for dog fighting is not the only animal injured in these blood fights. With the American pit bull terrier the dog most often used, the non-winning dog often dies in hours or days from blood loss, shock or infection from the bites.

The dog is typically not rushed to the vet for quality care after an illegal dog fight, which leads to its eventual death. The need for more dogs illegally bred for fighting and stolen “bait” to train them is a vicious cycle which is spiraling today.


Across the country law enforcement and animal welfare groups are finding pets being stolen for “bait” in training exercises to train or test another dog’s fighting instinct with a weaker prey. Unfortunately, this bait is either badly mauled or killed in the process.

Another unfortunate situation is that stolen family pets are often used in these blood-training exercises. An example was when a pile of dead and chewed-up dogs were found by Arizona’s Pima County Sheriff’s Department in 2004. Many of the dogs whose bodies were found had been listed as stolen, which eventually led to the connection in undercover dog fighting rings.

Within six months, that same area had reported over 3,396 missing dogs with over half reported as stolen by their owners. National statistics on how many pets are taken each year, used as bait by dog-fighting rings,  are not available according to Patricia Wagner, head of the National Illegal Animal Fighting Task Force for the Humane Society of the United States—“I think every state has a problem with it, whether they know it or not.”

The animals targeted to be stolen out of yards and running loose are small dogs and kittens, or even pet rabbits, for bait or potential breeding stock for the fighting dog rings. Arizona has recently passed a bill, through state representative Ted Downing, where stealing an animal for use in dog fighting is a felony with penalties up to 2 years in jail and up to $150,000 in fines.


Dog fighting is seen as a blood sport where certain segments of humanity will train aggressive dogs–especially pit bulls—to fight and/or fight to the death. Seen as a form of entertainment which creates revenue from stud fees, gambling or admission fees, the foundation breed of the fighting dog was, in its outward appearance, a large, low, heavy breed with a powerful build and strongly developed head—similar to the pit bull of today. Dog fighting has been popular in many countries throughout history and continues to be practiced both legally and illegally around the world.

Considered illegal in 50 states and considered a felony in 47, there is still a recent increase in dog fighting with it developing as out-of-control problem on a global basis.

Countries such as Latin America practice dog fighting on a wide basis while it is gaining popularity in Afghanistan. India not only considers it illegal, but it is considered illegal for people to have videos on dog fighting or to attend an event.

The magazine “Sporting Dog Journal”, the largest underground magazine for the dog-fighting industry, has listed as much as 1,000 fight reports by professionals who breed and fight animals throughout the United States for profit. This does not include less organized dog fighting rings which consist of quick cash and bragging rights by non-professionals.

Dog fighting bets can range from $10,000 to $50,000 on one fight, where two dogs are placed in a pit or plywood-enclosed wall to attack each other, pulling in cheering crowds of 200 or more. These battles have been known tocontinue as long as two hours or more, with the American pit bull terrier used most often.

These fights are linked to other crimes as they involve the same type of “people” mentality—auto theft, drug dealing, money laundering, and arms smuggling. According to the database report of the Human Society of the United States, over 40,000 people are typically involved in dog fighting events with approximately 250,000 pit bulls used in the fights.

Over 500+ message boards and chat rooms for dog fighting are on the Internet with these numbers growing rapidly as the dog fighting proliferates. This in turn causes the number of stolen pets to be on the increase on a daily basis for training purposes.


Program coordinator for the Florida-based Humane Society of the U.S. out of Tallahassee, Sandy Christianson, reports “My experience mostly has been in an urban environment where the dogs that are being stolen are often used by less sophisticated people who are looking for the thrill of watching their dog beat up another dog.”

Teenagers in the Northeastern part of the U.S. are helping fill-up shelters with dangerous dogs as the youth are breeding their dogs every six months for profit, training them to be aggressive toward other animals and humans for the dog fighting rings.

Each year an income can be made for these young adults ranging from $1,500 to $2,000  for selling puppies to the training rings for dog fighting,  which in turn helps buy drugs. The professionals involved cannot go wrong. Once they pay the teenagers for the bait puppies they have bred and trained, the teenagers ignorantly turn around and give the money back to them on some level to purchase drugs.


There are many victims involved in dog fighting–the fighting dogs themselves with high chances of one dog dying or becoming maimed every dog fight, the “bait” which consists of stolen pets to use as training material or stolen dogs to use as breeding stock for bait. The pet owners who have their pets stolen unsuspectingly are very much victims, never knowing what has happened to their small dogs, kittens or small rabbits.

This is why all pets should be micro-chipped for proof of ID. This will help law officials and animal rights organizations to track the owners down of found animals—if they are located. Dogs who are allowed to run loose allow thieves the opportunity to sell these dogs to dog training rings to be used as training bait or breeding purposes. Fifty-percent of these innocent pets automatically become a dog-fighting statistic once they are removed from your yard or picked up on the streets.

U.S. Dog-Fighting Rings Stealing Pets for “Bait”

The  Amazing Secrets of Pitbulls

Wikipedia: Dog Fighting

Bandit: The Heart-Warming True Story of One Dog’s Rescue from Death Row

Pit Bulls for Dummies


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  1. May 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm — Reply

    The area where I live has seen a large surge in dog fighting. Some of them end up being places of business such as nail shops or hair salons with underground basements. Absolutely wrong… These people need to be punished to the fullest.

  2. September 7, 2009 at 12:44 am — Reply

    Yes, this most certainly is a terrible sport! It became even worse when people started having their beloved pets stolen out of their fence enclosed yards and couldn’t figure out what had happened to them. It wasn’t till one of these dog fighting places was discovered that some friends of mine finally found what was left of their two dogs – they had been used as ‘bait dogs’ for the ones being trained to fight! They were in such bad shape that both had to be put down.

    I shudder to think of what those animals had to endure all that time. That is animal abuse for sure. The person involved got a slap on the wrist, a small fine and is now back on the street probably doing the same thing again.

    As usual, there is not enough manpower out there to cover the whole county.

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