Webinar presenter Terry Mills answered a number of your questions after his presentation, What Dog Fighters Don’t Want You to Know: Considerations for the Justice Professional. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: The first question comes in from Ashley. She said that she runs a humane education program at her local shelter and is wondering if there’s something like on ASPCAPro where she can find the links to dogfighting videos?
Terry Mills: I do not believe that we have videos, tons of information on the ASPCApro.org and you can find out about animal fighting and other forms of cruelty. I don’t believe that we have videos and I’m not sure which stuff that you want with dogfight videos or what but I know a lot of people just go online and then take them off YouTube a lot of times to make a point.
Audience Question: What role do women play in the dogfighting culture? Are they involved in the fights? How about training and so on? What do you see in common?
Terry Mills: I’ve seen where the spouses or significant other does help in some of the trainings, feeding. Give an example is for is fighting her in the box, the only one that I’m aware of out of a hundred dogfighters that we did, we had one female that was in the box and actually fighting dogs. Since she was also been around long enough to be a referee in the fights so it’s not as common as other crimes probably but they do take part.
Audience Question: It also sounds like that the referees are often experienced, veteran dogfighters.
Terry Mills: They’re very experienced and again, they have to be agreed upon by both dogfighters.
Audience Question: Is there evidence of a connection between dogfighting and organized crime?
Terry Mills: The organized that I know of are the street gangs. I have not experienced or been involved in any cases of the typical organized crime. They make money any way they can so everything’s open.
Audience Question: Is the Canine CODIS system at UC Davis still being utilized to investigate dogfighting?
Terry Mills: Yes and this time I wasn’t able to get that in but we swabbed every dog just like we swab for human DNA. We swab every dog that we see, we swab every as much blood evidence at the scene, break sticks, training equipment to see if there’s a match, and yes we send in those UC Davis to either to get a DNA profile or comparison and use it in cases.
Audience Question: Do OTC or unsanctioned fights count for the champion or GC status?
Terry Mills: No. For the most part, they do not. But again, there’s not like a Department of Agriculture or the state vet that’s keeping track of these. It’s mostly word of mouth. Through past history, it has been sporting dog journal that fights reported to. And it’s mostly betted by the dog fighters themselves but no, for the most part, it means that it’s contract fight.
Aaron: I wanted to share a comment from Siri and they say, ” I just wanted to thank you on my behalf. We don’t have information on this available in Finland and so he’s very much appreciated.
Audience Question: Can a dog seized from a dogfighting ring, return to being a family pet or become a family pet?
Terry Mills: We have old dogs after being medically and forensically evaluated, one’s been in the shelter for three days which is an acclimation time that studies have shown. We have those dogs that are evaluated by our behavior team and throughout the time that they’re in the shelter may be evaluated by a time or two. We also had playgroups that we put them in and bring them out once or twice a day to socialize. It’s kind of a long answer. The short answer is we run about half. Sometimes it’s a little less than half, being able to place those dogs in a family environment. We have about 600 or 700 partners around the country, and they usually go to them and then to the adopter. But we usually save with that half or sometimes lower depending on the age, puppies or juveniles.
Audience Question: Does the spectator’s law gets applied or is it available in all 50 states? Maybe if you tackled a little bit about the spectator’s law and talk a little bit about how broadly it’s available as a tool for law enforcement.
Terry Mills: Spectator law is different in all 50 states, but it just applies to people that are just there. if they are actively taking part in it by betting, they obviously can be charged with gambling, but it’s hard to make an upgrade. Most spectator law in most states are misdemeanors so we are not always pursued. There are several states such as Alabama, New York, some of the East Coast state that even spectating is a felony which makes it a very easier case to make. All you got to do is put them into the building when you take the dogfight down. For the most part, it’s a misdemeanor and it’s not pursued as much because of that.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of What Dog Fighters Don’t Want You to Know: Considerations for the Justice Professional.