Dog fighting places the animals at significant risk of serious pain, injury, suffering or even death for the purpose of entertainment. Dogs used for fighting are often specifically bred for the purpose and are trained to be extremely aggressive toward other dogs.
Dog fighting is illegal in Australia. It is also illegal to possess any fighting equipment designed for dog fighting. Despite this, dog fighting still occurs and is often associated with other illegal activities.
Dog fights usually take place in quiet, private locations, such as in an industrial unit or farm building. Participants will spend months training their dogs in preparation, and fighting dogs will often have to hit a target weight to take part. Organisers will create a fighting ‘pit’ for the dogs to fight within.
Dogs who have been used in fighting often have serious injuries to their head, ears, front legs and chest that are caused as they go head-to-head in a pit. They will also have injuries of different ages – some old scars and some fresh wounds.
Dogs can suffer serious or fatal injuries while fighting, with some injured dogs being killed or abandoned. After fights, many dogs are left with horrific injuries, and owners may attempt to treat the injuries themselves rather than risk being reported by a treating veterinarian. This then places the dog’s health and welfare at even greater risk.
Losing dogs can be cast aside or destroyed by their owners while winning dogs will likely go on to fight again and can be worth huge sums of money to buy or breed from. Guests will be invited to bet on which dog will win and large sums of money can be won both by gamblers and by owners.
In addition to the animal welfare issues associated with forcing dogs to fight, these dogs are often housed in poor living conditions where their physical and behavioural needs are not met.
Cockfighting places the animals at significant risk of serious pain, injury, suffering or even death for the purpose of entertainment.
Cockfighting, as well as possession of any fighting equipment for cockfighting, is illegal in all states and territories across Australia. Despite this, cockfighting is still a popular sport amongst certain societal groups, having been passed down from generation to generation as part of their culture. It is often associated with other illegal activities.
Roosters (cockerels) will be bred specifically for fighting and will be trained using practice birds. They are trained to be extremely aggressive towards other roosters and are housed individually because of this.
During a cockfight, roosters are placed in a fighting pit where they are unable to escape and forced to fight, often until they are severely injured or killed. In some cases, sharp razor blades, spikes or other fighting accessories are attached to birds. These further increase the chance of birds being injured or killed during fights.
Normal fights can last anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour, while fights with sharpened spurs may only last a few minutes given the increased likelihood of death.
When roosters are injured during training or fighting, the owners may attempt to treat the injuries themselves rather than risk being reported. In addition to the animal welfare issues associated with forcing roosters to fight, these roosters are often housed in poor living conditions where their physical and behavioural needs are not met.
Do you have a tip off?
Organised animal cruelty is deliberate, brutal and shocking.
RSPCA Victoria relies on information from the public to gather intelligence to identify and investigate cases of potential animal cruelty. If you have any information on organised animal fighting or illegal breeding, rearing and selling, please make a report through our tip off line. Even if it’s just a suspicion, we want to hear from you.
Large-scale serious, organised and commercial animal cruelty operates in secrecy and is often hidden from view. These activities can be highly networked, often operating in multiple locations across Victoria and interstate.
Remember, every little bit helps. Sometimes things that may seem insignificant can be the missing element in an investigation. Your information may help us successfully investigate the next important case and ensure those most vulnerable are protected.
All information disclosed is completely confidential. While every piece of information provided helps RSPCA Victoria take action, you are never expected to put yourself at risk to get these details. Your safety always comes first.