NEW YORK, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month in April, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) designates April 8 National Dog Fighting Awareness Day (www.aspca.org/dogfighting) to raise awareness of the prevalence of dog fighting in the U.S., reveal little-known truths about the blood sport, and encourage animal lovers nationwide to take action against one of the most brutal forms of animal cruelty.
Despite being a felony in all 50 states, dog fighting continues to be a popular underground activity. Additional criminal activities often connected with dog fighting include drug and weapons violations. Last year alone, the ASPCA helped take down dog fighting operations in March and August spanning six states and involving more than 500 dogs. The ASPCA continues to tackle the illegal underground world of dog fighting rings through investigations, law enforcement training, legislation, advocacy and rehabilitation of dogs seized during dog fighting raids.
"Dog fighting is the ultimate betrayal of the human-animal bond and the brutality of this crime needs to be brought to the forefront of the nation's conscience," said ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker. "Dog fighting is not just a crime, it's a deep stain on our national character—a cultural embarrassment we should all feel. This is about doing everything we can to bring this nightmarish practice to an end. We can't rest until it does."
Among the misconceptions about dog fighting are that it's a rare activity, that it's restricted to certain parts of the country, and that participants represent a very narrow slice of American culture. None of those assumptions are true.
"National Dog Fighting Awareness Day sheds a light on the prevalence of this crime in America and encourages people to take action by learning how to recognize and report suspected dog fighting activities so that authorities could step in and bring this horrific form of animal abuse to an end," said Tim Rickey, vice president of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response.
The ASPCA is asking people nationwide to increase their awareness about dog fighting and share their stand on April 8 by visiting www.aspca.org/dogfighting. The site includes:
- A Google+ Hangout live panel discussion from 7-8 p.m. ET with ASPCA experts to discuss the underground world of dog fighting, hosted by Dan Harris with ABC News;
- A newly released digital short entitled "Life on a Chain" including undercover footage of dog fights, major dog fighting cases, and expert insight;
- An interactive quiz that debunks common misconceptions about dog fighting;
- A photo gallery of dog fighting and training paraphernalia; and
- Profiles of dog fighting victims rescued by the ASPCA.
On April 8, there will be a Q&A session to answer questions from the public submitted via Twitter, Facebook and Google+ using the hashtag #NDFAD. The ASPCA is also asking Facebook users to share a custom-designed cover photo at the ASPCA Facebook page.
The ASPCA has rescued countless animals from dog fighting operations across the nation and established a Blood Sports unit dedicated solely to animal fighting investigations in December 2010. Earlier this year, President Obama signed the farm bill, parts of which made attending an animal fight a federal crime and imposes additional penalties for bringing a minor to an animal fight. For more information on the ASPCA's efforts to tackle animal fighting and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org/dogfighting.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation's leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA's mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.