The shocking events where dogs are mercilessly pitted in battles resembling gladiator fights are being held in many parts of the world even today. Not just that, these events which used to be held secretly once upon a time in smaller towns in northern India, are now being held in the bigger metropolitan cities. The participation in such bloodied events that are being referred to as ‘sport’ are driven through various social media platforms.
Dog fighting traces its roots back to the Roman Empire. It is a well-known fact that the Romans had a bizarre inclination towards bloodied gladiator fights. It was a popular sport among the common masses as well as the aristocracy. The fights which did not just include gladiator battles, but also dogs fighting against other animals were known to draw a huge crowd at Rome’s Colosseum. It would be wrong if one thought that the days of such dogfights were a thing of the past. The ‘sport’ is still alive and is flourishing in a big way in Afghanistan, Pakistan as well as in India. It is also illegally practised in China, European, and the U.S.
Many animal rights activists have protested against this inhuman practice. The news that such dog fights are being held in posh localities of the capital city of India, New Delhi, and Jaipur is totally distressing. Earlier this week, a man from a neighboring state posted the photos of his pet dog who was bleeding profusely after one such fight. After further investigations, it was found that until few months back, the gentle and obedient American Pit Bull Terrier named Killer, was a common sight in one of the upper-class, residential localities of South Delhi.
Killer’s powerful built, his white fur, and his powerful built were his prominent features. The owner of Killer, who lived in a small apartment with his wife and son, had many other pit bulls as pets. The disturbing trend was that the male pet dogs kept disappearing one after the other and were never seen in the locality again, while the female dogs bred profusely. Similarly, Killer disappeared one day and was never seen again.
Alarming clues have been found on the Facebook page belonging to Killer’s owner. His profile was full of photographs of men holding dogs that were badly beaten and bloodied by multiple bite wounds. The page had numerous comments and senseless, macho compliments like ‘Undefeated’,’Great fighter’, ‘Hot Blood.’ When enquired about Killer’s sudden disappearance, his owner informed that the dog had gone for some kind of training. He explained that ‘fighting’ dogs are made to exercise in swimming pools as well as pull SUV car tires to gain strength and stamina.
He further explained that other smaller dogs are used as a bait to make bigger dogs more aggressive. He also gave detailed information about the ‘fights’ and said that bouts did not last too long. The dogs pitted in the fight need to make sure that they put in their best efforts in the first few minutes. Such bouts often end up causing heavy and fatal injuries to the dogs when they are mercilessly pitted in battles resembling gladiator battles that are being held in many parts of the World even today.
Organizers of these dog fights are reportedly using social media to make their ‘gladiators’ famous, and to try to make such events popular among people. According to an animal rights activist based in Delhi, prestige and prize money are the two factors that are driving this illegal sport. The dogs cost somewhere around Rs. 200,000 ($3200) to Rs.500,000 ($7800). The prize money could be somewhere between Rs. 100,000 ($1560) to Rs. 1 million ($15,600).
The activist said that earlier, the state of Punjab in North India was a hotbed for such gladiatorial dog fights. However, many big cities across India have started hosting dog fights and have become popular venues. The specific breeds of dogs like pit bulls, which are known for their strength and tenacity are being used in such battles. Other exotic breeds of dogs like Canary, Dogo Argentino and Dogo de Bordeaux including a breed of Pakistani guard-dogs named Bully Kutta are being made to fight.
As per Indian law, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, fights between man and animal, and animal against animal, are punishable offences. The Indian Penal Code Section 428 and 429 make it illegal to cause injury to any animal. However, activists have been asking for stronger laws for animal protection. There are other sports which cause injury to animals such as Jallikattu, a bull taming sport, which is popular in the state of Tamilnadu in South India. This traditional sport has been banned by the Supreme Court of India.
Psychiatrists suggest that it is their ego, which draws men to such brutish ‘sports.’ They say that such kind of cruel behavior is displayed by sadistic people who relish inflicting pain on others. As these men are too scared to fight, they make dogs do that. The behavior of people enjoying these gladiatorial dog battles being held around the world by mercilessly forcing the animals to fight, show the same lack of compassion displayed by bullies. In the meantime, after the public anger over the photos of dog fights, the Facebook profile of Killer’s owner has been disabled and there is no information of Killer’s whereabouts.
By Ankur Sinha
Huffington Post- Dog Fighting Is A Huge Problem
The Times Of India- Latest metro ‘sport’: Dogs in the ring
Photo Courtesy of kantegh’s Flickr Page-Creative Commons License