What Dog Fighters Don’t Want You to Know: Considerations for the Justice Professional

What Dog Fighters Don't Want You to Know: Considerations for the Justice Professional
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-08-27
Unit 1Handout: What Dog Fighters Don’t Want You to Know
Unit 2Workbook: What Dog Fighters Don't Want You to Know
Unit 3Recording: What Dog Fighters Don’t Want You to Know

Animal fighting is one of the most barbaric crimes out there. The scene and aftermath of such fights, with bloodied if not dead animals, are just downright gruesome. This may overwhelm an animal control or law enforcement officer who haven’t been exposed to such cases. This course aims to unpack the nitty gritty of dogfighting  – items that are red flags for dogfighting operations, evidence to look for, and leads to pursue.

Terry Mills, the Director of Blood Sports Investigations for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team, is this session’s key resource. Terry served in the law enforcement field working on cases involving narcotics, homicide, organized crime and gang-related activities and as an FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigator. He is renowned in the animal welfare arena for working on a large-scale dogfighting operation, the Missouri 500.

Specifics of this course include:

  • An overview of dogfighting and why dogfighters are drawn into it.
  • The significance of addressing animal fighting due to its barbaric nature and its link to violent crimes and other criminal activity.
  • The types of dogfighters and their characteristics.
  • Myths about Pitbulls and the inhumane breeding of dogs for fighting.
  • The importance of registering dogs to trace its bloodline and appraise its value.
  • How social media is being utilized for dogfighting and breeding transactions.
  • Typical information presented in the dog registrations that indicate involvement in dogfighting.
  • The typical housing set up in both the country and urban areas.
  • The training paraphernalia used and the rigorous training dogs undergo from mere puppies until the fight.
  • The types of dogfights, the qualities, and rules of each.
  • The concept of the keep, which is the timeframe after arranging a fight when the dog is conditioned and trained.
  • What a typical fighting pit looks like and the set-up.
  • Arranging the game, from setting the date and time, and the last-minute announcement of the fight location.
  • How the operators secure the fight and avoid law enforcement bust.
  • Pre-fight routines like the weigh-in and washing/tasting the dog.
  • The fight itself, including the release of the dogs and how to break the dogs’ bites.
  • Determining the winner, and what happens to the winning and losing dog after the fight.
  • The defenses dogfighters typically resort to when being questioned or investigated by law enforcement.
  • Identify animal fighting operations based on activities and paraphernalia.
  • The importance of securing all necessary warrants to crackdown animal fighting operations.
  • Numerous video and photo content showing the different aspects of dogfighting.
  • Terry clarified points raised during the Q&A about:
    • Content that be used for humane education programs.
    • Women’s role in dogfighting.
    • The link between dogfighting and organized crime.
    • Utilizing Canine CODIS to investigate dogfighting.
    • Rules on the types of fights and qualifying for a champion title.
    • Rehabilitating a fighting dog to become a family pet.
    • The applicability of the spectator’s law across the United States.


Audience Comments

  • “Thank you so much, for your passion in getting this message out. … The vocabulary alone is fascinating to learn….” — Pamela
  • “I learned additionally what I can look for. Some of these things I have read about, but the pictures were very good.” — Beth
  • “Very informative, especially with regard to their own ‘language.'” — Cynthia
  • “Well done. It is a lot of information for only 1 hour and it was presented very well. Thank you.” — Gina
  • “The layout, equipment, and how the fighters hold and keep their dogs was the most valuable thing I learned. It will be something I keep an eye out for when I go do home visits.” — Michael
  • “Every time I participate in “new to me” topics, it’s like learning a foreign language. There were too many valuable things learned, and they were all GREAT! The terminology stood out as well.” — Marilyn



View our Animal Welfare Webinar  Schedule and Recordings



This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





Additional Resources
4 years ago
After the Webinar: What Dog Fighters Don’t Want You to Know. Q&A with Terry Mills
Webinar presenter Terry Mills answered a number of your questions after his presentation, What Dog F […]
4 years ago
Advanced Dog Fighting Investigations
Winning animal law cases rely heavily on evidence, so it is best to go all out on investigation to b […]
5 years ago
Animal Cruelty Investigations and Prosecutions
Animal cruelty is now recognized as a legitimate crime and has been gaining more and more support fr […]
5 years ago
What Investigators and Prosecutors Need to Know about Building Cases Against Cock Fighting Perpetrators
Webinar Video Clip: What Investigators and Prosecutors Need to Know about Building Cases Against Coc […]
5 years ago
Animal Cruelty Reporting: What Law Enforcement and Justice Professionals Need to Know
Webinar Video Clip: Animal Cruelty Reporting Numerous researches have proven the correlation be […]