The ASPCA designated April 8 as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (NDFAD) to advance the conversation about dog fighting and to encourage animal lovers across the US to take action against this brutal form of animal cruelty – find out more here (link updated April 2019). While the information will be specific to America, it will undoubtedly translate fairly easily to Ireland. Their article has Dog Fighting FAQs, Ways to End Dogfighting and The Truth about Pitbulls alongside stories of rescues, raids and prosecutions. Well worth a look.
I was led to the Awareness Day link as a result of a post on Ireland’s Pit Bull Terrier Association’s FB page highlighting the FB page of a dog fight organiser in the US. I’m already aware this kind of publicity is not the way to go to get the abuser prosecuted, and read the thread with interest. Sure enough, a post by Karen Fairclough, the UK representative of the Anti-DogFighting Campaign, clearly presented how to go about reporting these people, and I quote:
Facebook only remove the images – they DO NOT report or investigate. NEVER report dog fighting or abuse to facebook. All you are doing is removing vital evidence and the animals only voice for help. Without the evidence the animals stand no chance of being rescued or the suspect being brought to justice.
1. DO NOT CONTACT THE WEBSITE OWNER. While it may be mildly therapeutic to tell them what you think of them and their actions, you will be alerting them to their discovery and they may remove the offensive information.
2. DO NOT FLAG THE WEBSITE FOR REMOVAL FROM A PUBLIC SITE such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or others, as that may permanently delete evidence needed to build a case against the offender.
3. DO NOT SHARE the information with others, because they may act in either of the above ways which will defeat your purpose. Sharing the website may also increase traffic to the website in question which may support the offender or excite the offender.
All dog fighting issues can be sent by PM here
The Anti-DogFighting Campaign looks great – but the main contact numbers are US, UK and Australia. They’d certainly be able to give advice generally, but I’m not sure how much direct help they’d be in Ireland. However, it’s well worth getting in touch with the UK branch for advice. In Ireland the organisation to contact is the ISPCA Animal Cruelty Line. However, as far as I’m aware, there’s no internet animal cruelty official organisation – the ISPCA ought to cover it, but I’m not sure exactly what they’d do being understaffed enough for all the normal ‘real life’ stuff.
While the cruelty endemic in hunting, fishing and coursing is legal in Ireland (see our article), dog fighting is NOT. In terms of dog fighting in real life, I know the ISPCA are very, very keen to find, stop and prosecute offenders – but finding people to report them is very hard. Without people taking responsibility and reporting what they know there’s very little the inspectors can do. If you know anything, get in touch with the ISPCA. Make a difference.