In July 2013, the Hungarian Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) task force conducted a massive raid on a dogfighting ring (or gang, in Europe). Five men were arrested, in addition to police finding drugs and illegal substances on the property.
In total, 83 dogs were found: 37 fight dogs who were immediately taken into rescue by Cerberos Pit Bull Rescue, 4 (Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Caucasian Shepards) that were not involved in the ring at all except as guard dogs, and 42 scattered about the property who they believe had not yet been used in fighting. The 46 not used in fights were left on the property as they were deemed not in "bad enough" physical condition to warrant seizing from the property.
These 46 are under continuous watch on the property and being cared for by volunteers; they cannot be left alone, as they still need proper care. The 37 taken into rescue are worth a great deal of money in such a poor village, so their locations are not disclosed. All 83 dogs are officially considered police evidence and not yet available for adoption, though the 37 taken into rescue are all currently in foster homes. They are finally getting the love, warmth, and companionship they have lacked for so long, in addition to many needing a great deal of medical care for shattered teeth, broken bones, flesh wounds, and infections.
As more foster homes become available, Cerberos plans on taking in as many as possible to rehabilitate.
TEK made a similar raid last year in the town of Ozd, in northern Hungary, as well. The Ozd case was treated as an international issue, as at least one man in attendance traveled from Romania. Footage from the Verpelet raid can be viewed as part of this article, or readers may view it here. This is the scene from which Smiley, Concrete, and Streaky were taken.
Smiley's story has been circulated widely online, and many are aware that half of her face was torn off while she was locked into a breeding vice. The male dog attacked a defenseless Smiley while continuing the mating process. You may read more about Smiley (and view images and video) here, and articles about Concrete and Streaky are soon to follow.
Actual footage of the Ozd raid was released as well, but, readers must be warned. Like the Verpelet case, the raid was conducted during an ongoing fight. While the Verpelet video primarily shows many dogs, their housing, and their physical conditions, animals are shown being harmed in the Ozd police footage. The Ozd raid can be viewed here.
The Hungarian Counter Terrorism Centre (TEK) and the Nograd County police were stunned when they came upon the active dogfight, as they originally had been conducting long-term investigations on this property for illegal gambling. Police and the TEK had no idea dogfighting was going on, much less at that exact moment.
Like many countries, including the United States, dogfighting is rarely the singular crime on scene. In fact, dogfighting rings are often accompanied by illegal gambling, illicit drugs, black market veterinary practices and pharmaceuticals, and guns. Across the globe, dogfighting tends to become more prevalent in times of high unemployment and poverty, and Hungary is no exception. Drugs are traded for fight dogs or fertile female dogs with "high quality bloodlines". The rings are organized, and they network well into the Ukraine and Romania.
Fortunately, in both cases, many of the dogs were taken in by Cerberos Pit Bull Rescue and are being healed and rehabilitated. CPBR is a branch of the Cerberos Animal Protection Association that was formed as a response to the seemingly endless calls for help regarding game pits (pit bulls used in dogfighting rings) in and around Hungary.
To read more about Smiley, the Cerberos pit bull who had half of her face torn off during a mating session in Verpelet, click here. Donations are needed for her facial and dental surgeries, along with Concrete's leg surgeries, Streaky's medical bills, and dozens more pit bulls in pain. To see how you can help Cerberos Pit Bull Rescue and check out their website and Facebook pages, see the links below.
As long as society is willing to turn a blind eye to these atrocities, it will continue to happen.
And, as long as these beautiful dogs are continued to be used, abused, exploited, tortured, and killed, there will always be a need for rescuers.
To learn more about dogfighting and what you can do if you suspect fighting, training, or breeding for those purposes, click here.
To check out the Cerberos Pit Bull Rescue's general Facebook page, click here.
To check out the Cerberos website, click here.
To read an article exclusively on Smiley, click here.
To follow Smiley's journey, check out her Facebook, click here.
Most importantly, to donate toward Smiley's care, along with the dozens of other dogs Cerberos took in from the massive dogfighting raid, you may donate anywhere in the world via Paypal to email@example.com.
Have a story idea? Does your organization have a case that needs more attention or publicity? Or, just see a type? Contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like my article? Want to see more like this? Subscribe to my articles, and they will go directly to your email as soon as one is published. I tend to focus on rescue animals in need, particularly those with a history or abuse, but who are now on the road to recovery.
The author, April Plemons, is an animal rescuer and welfare advocate. She is part of Long Way Home Animal Sanctuary & Pit Bull Rescue. Check out their Facebook page below!