Due to New York’s weak laws when it comes to certain aspects of dogfighting, it is now hailed as the dogfighting capital. In all 50 states, dog fighting is a felony, until last month in New York, spectators could get off scott-free if they didn’t wager or pay admission and it is one of only three states where keeping dogs for dogfighting is only a misdemeanor.

Even now spectators only get a ticket for the first offense and the second is a misdemeanor. Not too much of a threat legally.

John Goodwin of the Humane Society said, “On any given weekend, New York has more dogfights than any other city. It’s a felony, so it’s not in your face but we hear about it happening in body shops, empty warehouses and new developments that are still under construction. Guys drink beer, place bets, watch the dogs and leave. Construction workers return on Monday to find the bloody aftermath.”

Big money is the draw, between $1500 and $15,000 purse with the really big money in breeding pitbull for the ring. A champion stud can fetch $500 a day.

Underground registries document fighting pedigrees, “kind of like the American kennel club.” Goodwin said. “They’ll even list the dog’s winning titles. It’s a shockingly organized criminal industry.”

For 30 years, the Sporting Dog Journal, the central organ of the dog-fighting world, came out of New York. “It had 6,000 subscribers and ran 120 pages a month, with several hundred detailed fight reports,” Goodwin said.

Along with dogfighting, you usually find drugs and guns as well. Dogfights range from impromptu street corner and alley fights to the highly organized and just as highly secretive big money matches.

Since the Vick debacle, the heat has been on this bloodsport and people are more aware of it and less wary of reporting it when they notice the signs. It’s an entire cruel underworld and the dogs are not the only victims. Often children and teens are drawn into the ‘world’ with gang affiliation. Young people quickly become desensitized to to pain and blood and violence and death.

This is a crime that kills, not just dogs, but heart and spirit as well.

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