The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) just helped rescue 275 dogs from a suspected dogfighting operation in South Carolina.
According to the nonprofit, the animals were found by federal officials across 10 properties in Columbia last month. While some were living in pens outside, others were chained up, with only makeshift shelters available to them.
Many presented with scars and thin bodies, and they had little access to basic necessities like food and water. Others had open wounds and abscesses.
Bark Nation also assisted with the operation, which was led by the US Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General (USDA OIG).
The South Carolina nonprofit is dedicated to ending “canine cruelty,” and helps to support dogs after they have been rescued from dogfighting rings.
One of these dogs is Karen, a “friendly, affectionate” pit bull terrier rescued in 2021 from Michigan, in what Bark Nation claims was the “largest suspected dogfighting bust” in the state’s history.
American pit bull terriers are the number one breed used for fighting in the US.
According to HSUS, the USDA OIG is still investigating dogfighting in South Carolina, alongside the state’s own law enforcement.
Ending dog fights in the US
Despite the fact that dogfighting is a felony offense in every single state in the US, it still happens frequently. In fact, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), in the last 10 years, it has assisted almost 5,000 victims of dogfighting.
These fights often take place in back alleys and can last up to several hours. Common injuries include broken bones, severe bruising, puncture wounds, and lacerations. In some instances, the animals die after the fight has taken place.
HSUS is on a mission to end dogfighting.
The nonprofit is offering a $5000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information about animal fighting operations that leads to a conviction. It also urges those who live in states “where animal fighting penalties are deficient” to write to legislators asking for harsher punishment.
Find out more about HSUS’ work to end dogfighting here.