3/20/2009

Sick, Sick, Sick, People

Excuse my language but this country has some sick motherfuckers in it. Check out a story about "Hog-Dog Fighting" that appeared in the Tucson Citizen in relation to a new bill to ban animal fighting in Arizona.

Published: 03.20.2009

PHOENIX - Trained to attack, the dog corners a wild hog, then lunges and sinks its teeth into the hog's ear. The hog squeals wildly, drowning out the cheers of people who paid to see this.

After the dog holds on for the required three seconds, the owner pries it off and this round of hog-dog fighting is over. For the hog, the fight won't end until too much of its flesh has been torn off for it to play bait.

Hog-dog fighting, as shown in this video posted by The Humane Society of the United States, has mainly been a problem in the South. But law enforcement officials and animal-rights groups say it's a problem in Arizona as well.

State lawmakers have introduced a pair of bills designed to make it easier to prosecute those who engage in this blood sport by expanding the definition of animal fighting beyond cock fighting and dog fighting to include all forms of animal fighting.

"It's a brutal activity," said Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, author of one of the bills. "We hear about it, but we just can't do anything about it."

Sinema's bill, HB 2150, won committee approval after being amended to exclude instances in which animals are protecting livestock. Sen. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, introduced a similar version, SB 1115, but the Senate has yet to take up bills while it deals with the budget.

State legislators have introduced bills to ban animal fighting almost every year since 2004, when law enforcement broke up a hog-dog fighting operation in Yavapai County.

Hog-dog fighting currently falls under the less severe penalties of animal-cruelty laws, which require prosecutors prove that the wild hogs are property, said Kathleen Mayer, the legislative liaison for the Pima County Attorney's Office.

"No one really claims ownership for the victims, the pigs, so we don't know who to charge," she said.

Under the bills, hog-dog fighting and similar blood sports would carry the same penalties as cock fighting and dog fighting. Organizers and those who permit the fights would face a Class 5 felony carrying up to two years behind bars, and those attending fights would face a Class 6 felony carrying up to 18 months.

Most common in rural areas, hog-dog fighting appeared in Southern states in the last 15 years or so, evolving from the use of dogs to hunt wild hogs, which is legal, said John Goodwin, manager of animal-fighting issues with The Humane Society of the United States.

Hog-dog fighting, which puts the animals in an enclosure, is much crueler than a hunt, Goodwin said.

"There's no chance of escape," he said. "And they're just going to be used over and over again."

The dogs, usually pit bulls, are trained to chase the hogs and bite down anywhere above their shoulders, while owners and spectators place bets on which dog can do it the fastest.

Because the hogs face one dog after another, they often end up having their ears, snouts and parts of their faces ripped off, Goodwin said.

A hog's tusks, its main defense, are usually removed to protect the prize-fighting dogs, which often wear Kevlar vests or collars.

Law enforcement officials and animal-rights activists interviewed could cite only the Yavapai County case of hog-dog fighting, in which Goodwin's group teamed with sheriff's officials to break up a ring staging fights in Mayer. It was part of a crackdown spanning several states.

But that doesn't mean hog-dog fighting isn't happening now in Arizona, said Mike Duffey, an animal cruelty investigator with the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.
"It's a very sequestered sort of event," he said. "In some places it's remote, and somebody's watching the road that comes in. It's under the radar."

Kari Nienstedt, the Arizona state director for The Humane Society of the United States, said that while it can be hard track down animal fighting, the bills would still be a big help when authorities do catch someone.

"There's very little limits to their cruelty," Nienstedt said of those who stage animal fights. "But rather than chase them down one species at a time, the animal fighting bills will take care of it.
I'd like to thank Krysten Simena for sponsoring this bill (she's one of my Facebook friends). I simply cannot imagine people who get their jollies like this. I think anyone involved in this type of "sport" should be made to sign up for a registry just like sex offenders. Then they should have to inform people in their neighborhoods about their past so they can keep their pets safe from these perverted and sick sociopaths.

Better yet, keep them in cages after they're caught and just bump up that Ultimate Fighters Challenge to include fights to the death with these guys in the ring until only one is left breathing.

Sorry, but this type of thing makes my blood boil!
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