KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - NOVEMBER 24: Afghan dogs fight as their owners try and monitor the sporting event November 24, 2006 in Kabul, Afghanistan. While the Afghan government is trying to ban the violent use of dogs for fighting, the unofficial sport remains a regular weekly event. Afghan dog fighting is popular among Afghan men who gamble on the dogs making upwards of 15,000 Afghanie (300 USD). (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

“Man’s Best Friend.” That’s what dogs have been referred to for years. Every pickup truck in Montana has a dog in the back. We hunt with them, hike with them, run with them, and play with them. They give us unconditional love with no questions asked. But are they safe, even on your own property?

Dog Fighting Bait

In many parts of the country dogs are being kidnapped out of yards and used to train other dogs to kill in dogfighting rings. People canvas neighborhoods and put “markers” on fences where dogs spend time in yards.

Many lost or missing dogs are not lost at all but stolen and killed in the training of fighting dogs for this brutal and cruel sport.

Michael Vick

Many people will remember pro football player Michael Vick who was an active dogfighting promoter and participant. Killing dogs by hanging or drowning was a common practice for Vick’s dogs that did not perform well in dogfights. Authorities eventually busted Vick’s Dog Fighting Ring known as, "Bad Newz Kennels."

He appeared in U.S. District Court in Richmond before Judge Henry Hudson.

Judge Hudson said he was "convinced that it was not a momentary lack of judgment" on Vick's part, and that Vick was a "full partner" in the dog fighting ring, and he was sentenced to serve 23 months in federal prison. Hudson noted that despite Vick's claim to have accepted responsibility for his actions, his failure to cooperate fully with federal officials, coupled with a failed drug test and a failed polygraph, showed that he had not taken full responsibility for "promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity.”

Vick was also sentenced to 3 months and a $2,500 fine by the state of Virginia. He was also ordered to put up $1million dollar escrow account to be used in the care and adoption of the 70 dogs used in the dogfighting ring.

All adoptions of these dogs had to be approved by the courts. Many of the dogs had to undergo special training to reverse their aggressive behaviors from their previous dogfighting training.

Bill H.R. 2492

H.R. 2492 is the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act. This act would make it a misdemeanor offense to attend any illegal animal fighting activities. It would be a felony to bring children to an animal-fighting event.

Currently, Montana is the only state in the union that does not prosecute spectators at animal fights. I would hope that our legislature wakes up and closes this obvious loophole in the protection of animal rights.

Some Final Thoughts

I have grown up with dogs all my life. I currently have three. I hate it that they have such a short life span. The idea of dog fighting to be considered any kind of sport or enjoyment is beyond my comprehension.

I can’t imagine any animal abuse more heinous than to take a dog out of someone’s yard only to have another dog kill it for sport. That kidnapped pet might be a child’s best friend and the loss can last a lifetime.

Do the right thing. If you come in contact with any of our legislators please ask them to pass laws that will prosecute spectators at animal fights. Man’s best friend should never be man’s best killer.