The ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has created a "tool kit" to help the average citizen combat the illegal sport of dog fighting in their community.
Those who are not first responders are appalled by dog fighting, but do not know how they can help put an end to the "sport." This toolkit is presented through a partnership between the COPS Office and the ASPCA and will provide law enforcement and civilians with the necessary tools and training," the ASPCA website explains.
Using this information, first responders will learn how to recognize the crime of dogfighting, collect evidence, handle animals involved, partner with prosecutors, and build animal task forces within the communities they serve. It includes background on those who are involved, and on the nature of this crime." Often dog fighting is just part of the crime; illegal gambling, drugs, illegal weapons possession, parole and probation violations, and child endangerment are usually associated with fighting dogs.
The tool kit cannot be downloaded due to the sensitive nature of the material, but can be ordered by clicking HERE. You can also order it by phone by calling 1-800-421-6770.
"We know that sometimes the hardest thing about getting involved is figuring out where to start," ASPCA representatives explain, "our toolkit will teach you how to build an animal task force in your community, demonstrate ways to partner with local law enforcement, and even provide useful tips on how to handle the animal victims involved."
The ASPCA also offers a free, self-paced online course called "Combating Dog Fighting." The course takes about 1.5 hours and covers two subjects: Understanding dog fighting, and Combating dog fighting. "Investigating Animal Abuse for Law Enforcement" is a 3 hour course that contains information on animal abuse and community policing, evidence, and officer safety. "Officer Safety — Dog Bite Prevention" is a 25-minute tutorial teaching how to recognize forms of canine aggression, the basics of canine communication, and dog bite prevention. These course can be access by clicking HERE.
The ASPCA's anti-cruelty e-learning program includes self-paced, free online courses. Courses have been approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Animal control officers in Texas may apply these courses toward animal control officer continuing education requirements per Ch. 829 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. The course has been approved by SAWA for Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) continuing education (CE).
In August of 2013, the ASPCA helped rescue 367 dogs in a multi-state dog fighting bust. The three-year investigation entailed 13 search warrants throughout Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and Texas, the arrests of ten suspects and indictments on felony charges, firearms and drugs confiscation, and more than $500,000 in cash from illegal activity. The 367 dogs, ranging in age from several days to 10-12 years, had been left to suffer in extreme heat with no visible fresh water or food. Many were emaciated with scars and wounds; some were tethered by chains and cables that were attached to cinder blocks and car tires (source).
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