In 2006 the US Government along with local and state authorities launched “Operation Bite Back.” A sting aimed at taking out dog fighters in Cincinnati. Along with Cincinnati, Philly, Florida, LA and New York were also significant hot beds. Now it sounds good so far right? This sting resulted in 23 convictions, including that of the “king pin” Terry Kendrick, who ran what he dubbed the “OG Posse” and housed 16 pit bulls in his basement, all in tiny crates, stacked up like cord wood, in appalling conditions. He also staged and co-ordinated dog fights. He became very trusting of an undercover investigator working on the sting and as a result showed his “dogs” to said investigator, who by now had gained not only his trust but whom later used the Governments rented warehouse to stage three dog fights for Kendrick.
Kendrick thought this agent was in fact a career criminal just like himself. These are old cases but I wanted to take you all back in time on this to review how these cases were set up and handled. Terry Kendrick was ultimately convicted and received a 13 + 3 years, sentence. His fellow fighters were all violent felons in their own right, they ran drugs, were involved in food stamps fraud, gun trafficking, and prostitution. They would use almost any space to hold these fights including a hair salon if you can imagine that one. Some of the fights he staged collected 2-3 thousand dollars per fight. In some cases, Kendrick charged $1 hundred per person as an entrance fee, and had several matches that garnered him upwards of 1 hundred thousand dollars a fight. For Kendrick as soon as these dogs had no monetary value, they were killed and disposed of immediately.
In 2007 Michael Vick tipped the worlds vision of “Sports Icons” off its axis. We saw how far dog fighting has come, that anyone can be a key player, and that it was no longer just gang bangers and street hustlers using their dogs to settle disputes and make some quick cash, it was now a mainstream means of making illegal incomes. We saw that the “players” could be a sports hero, a street level criminal, a doctor, a lawyer, and even a child. The common denominator between them all is, they are all violent or had violent tendancies or violence related offenses in their past. They seek to quench this thirst for blood in “the pit” Michael Vick chose to blame his thirst for violence on his childhood, (Pfth!) Never really taking true ownership of what he had done, rather allowing his “handlers” to draft up very cunning words filled with fake regret. Vick has since gone on to whitewash and minimize his actions, even placing the blame on friends, in the process, he has since gained several endorsement deals, largely in part to the HSUS using his infamy to promote anti-dog fighting, again, (Pfth!)
There are about 100,000 street level fighters scattered like a virus throughout the US. Most street level fighters range from their teens to early 20’s however children as young as 9 years old have been caught engaging in dog fighting and or collecting strays to use as bait dogs. They use their dogs as a vehicle to settle scores between each other.
85 % of all dogs in shelters and city pounds across the US are primarily pit or pit bull mixes, and most end up euthanized. In Canada who knows. Canada very never makes these figures known to the public. Unless ofcoarse you want to pay your city council $3000.00 to get it.
Keep in mind though, that these figures are based on the fighters on the “grid” or “radar” so to speak. I guarantee the real figures far exceed that, probably three or four fold. The piles of filth involved in dog fighting have made comparisons to boxing and refer to it as a sport, which personally I find to be an offensive and pathetic attempt to minimize the abuse. A man chooses to fight, a dog does not. It is no more a sport that child abuse or rape.
As far as monitoring dog fighting goes, local police forces in the US and Canada are trained in penal statutes and dog fighting in most states is labeled under the agricultural statute. For local police there are very few guidelines, and even less training, even today.
*Breaking it down*
THE PIT: 16 x 16 “pits” are constructed, flooring in these pits is most often cheap or used carpeting. These pits are walled in so the dogs cannot easily escape.
ROLLS: Rolls are sparing matches usually set up between a young dog vs an older more experienced fighting dog, set up to test the younger dog. The challenge is quite simple, hold your own, or be labelled a “cur”
A CUR: Very simply put a cur is a dog that will not fight or tries to flee the pit. These dogs are the most despised by fighters and the reason is simple, if they won’t fight then they can’t win, and if they can’t win they won’t make any money. These dogs are weeded out and immediately killed, usually by shooting, choking, drowning, electrocution, punching, body slamming, you get the idea here. It is always painful and never humane. So the dog fighters thirst for blood and violence is quenched either way.
TRUNKING: Trunking is a match held between two dogs, on city streets, really anywhere the dog fighters can pull over, and crank their stereos to drown out the noise. The rules on this one are again painfully simple 10-15 minutes in a trunk together the winner lives the loser does not.
Dog fighting matches are divided as follows; Male on male, female on female both dogs of equal weight (sheesh how fair of the fighters on that one!) In a Documentary, I saw a dog whom I have dubbed “Halo” desperately trying to escape the pit, whimpering, screaming out in pain, his captors dragged and shoved him time after time back into the pit, not only did this poor soul not escape the pit, but he did not escape death at the hands of these men. Law enforcement did NOTHING to save this dog!
You see while you and I spend our free time with our kids, or at the beach, at the movies, or just relaxing at home, these men and those who pay to watch this garbage, spent their free time in garages, warehouses, and filthy basements watching and forcing dogs to rip each other apart! Sound like model citizens to you? Sound like forgivable offenses to you? Think again, the audiences are by far the wost in this, and they are filled with teachers, lawyers, doctors, mothers and sons! Some were even filmed eating and drinking beer at these events, I mean can you imagine watching animals tear each other apart, listening to squealing dogs in pain, and bones breaking, while choking back a hot dog and a beer? Jesus!
In 2007 Harris County (Texas) embarked on a sting to bust dog fighters, sounds good right? Well hang on to your seats, this is where it starts to get ugly on the part of the bureaucrats. “Operation Dead Game” was put into play. Sgt. Cliff Manning and another undercover officer went in posing as criminals and dog fighters, they slowly established themselves within this group by a variety of tactics. Eventually they were trusted and bought three pit bulls from these dog fighters, the dogs were Outlaw, Delilah, and Brutus. They purchased these dogs knowing very clearly that at some point they “might” I say, “would” be “forced” (take note of those two words) to put one or all in the pit. And sadly for Brutus that day came.
These “protectors of the innocent” these “boys in blue” took that dog and placed him in the pit, to fight for his life. Here is where I have to ask, if they were conducting a sting on child molesters, would they have so readily thrown a child into a hotel room with a pedophile to “see what happens” and gain a conviction? We all know that would never happen, because human life has ever so much more intrinsic value now doesn’t it? BS!
Of the investigation, and ultimate brutalization of poor Brutus, this is what officer Manning had to say, and I quote, “Thankfully the dog performed admirably, that fight forged bonds between us and the dog fighters.” Still sound good to you? It gets better, Chief Prosecutor (Animal Cruelty) for Harris County District Attorney, Belinda Smith said in regards to the “operation” and again I quote, ” I just thought if we didn’t do this, it was a lost opportunity, and hopefully we could have other positive benefits come out of it.” Really Belinda? Think about that statement and what that meant for the dogs for just a moment will you?
The shining culmination and moment, the positive benefit, Belinda smith spoke of, and the justification for laying down with the dogs and picking up fleas, for blurring the lines between right and wrong, for turning themselves into dog fighters, and peddlers of death, drug dealers and sellers of weapons was, Texas Department of Corrections got the largest sentence for dog fighting offenses.
80 people were busted 23 were convicted and a 3 year sentence was given to a key player in that one. In all cases 188 dogs were seized however several groups out of that 188 were ultimately euthanized. They never did say publicly what happened to Delilah, Outlaw and poor Brutus, but I can imagine their fates. So, not such a positive benefit for them now was it Belinda?
As for the convictions in the case kudos to the feds on that one, however, the government made a calculated move starting in 2006 to not only befriend and win over these dog fighters, they traded and sold weapons to each other, they got down in the dreck with these men and crossed the line!
Al White a notorious dog fighter and breeder of champion fighting dogs was busted, he had 8-10 pit bulls on his Appalachian property at any given time. Al’s dogs were examined and of them, all showed injuries consistent with dog fighting. The injuries were; scars overlapping, indicating that they had been repeatedly put in the pit, they had scaring on the face, legs, and abdomen, all sign that were consistent with dog fighting, they were all under weight, and lived their lives on the chain.
Dogs that are pit fighters go for the kill, family dogs that get into a dog fight or skirmish will show minimal to singular signs or abrasions. Al was ultimately charged but only got the 10 years + 10 years probation because they linked him to child molestation charges as well. I wonder what he would have gotten if it was just for dog fighting?
I do not want to diminish the work that undercover officers do, these men and women place their lives on the line, they are the ones who have to stand side by side with these killers, drug dealers, pimps, and dog fighters at great personal risk to their own safety, but what I do question are the methods, and the resulting convictions and punishments. Is it really necessary for them to become dog fighters, drug dealers, pimps, or pedophiles just to catch them? They do not have my understanding, or my respect if that’s the case.
If the police and all forms of law enforcement were out there on a personal level putting a real face to crime and rallying not just the public, but Law Makers and the senate as well, if they were trying to change the perimeters of the laws they work within, if they would testify before Senate Commities to strengthen the laws from the inside out, then yes, they would have my complete support and unwavering respect. Then and only then would we see tangible change because after all “We The People” can only do so much! They are part of us, their children get abducted, their dogs get stolen and used as bait dogs, and their family member become addicted to drugs just the same as ours do.
As far as these stings go there is more work to be done from the ground to the government to make sure that “We” …, those who seek justice, those whom are the victims be it animal or human are not allowed to fall through the cracks or used as pawns in “the game.” They must not allow themselves to become or sink to the level of these violent, blood thirsty and money hungry bottom feeders.
If we condone this type of case building and weak investigative techniques is it really justice? Or just a game in which all parties lose and justice its self is compromised. Sentences and punishments MUST be changed and who better to speak about it than these “officers of the law” Get in the real game boys! Step up and you too must join us in speaking out and create change!
Can judges set aside over crowding and weak laws and still stay stead fast for the sake of justice? Can they take action and think outside the box? Can they rally for better, tougher laws and shout out in a united voice, that abuse, no matter whom, or which species it is inflicted upon is wrong, and will not be tolerated! Shout out that it will result in the same sentencing as any other abuse, neglect or murder cases? Or will we just allow real justice to languish in the gutter, and allow these people to keep getting out, keep re-offending, and keep wasting our tax dollars on a system that so very clearly does not work?
In the end the dogs still pay the ultimate price, and it seems to me that with BSL still being spewed in various countries, and with such weak-minded politicians at the helm of our governments, unwilling to step up, that they always will. That sickens me to the core!