Texas Sting Reveals Dogfighting Underworld

Undercover cops bust vast fighting ring; seize 190 dogs
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2008 1:55 PM CST
Dog owners in underground dogfighting rings go through elaborate training regimes to make their dogs fight more viciously than ordinary dogs like these.   (©holisticmonkey)
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(Newser) – Two undercover Texas cops infiltrated and brought down a dogfighting ring that appears to be part of an underground network that spans several states and has ties to Mexico. Dogfighting, recently upgraded from a misdemeanor to a felony in Texas, is "like the Saturday night poker game for hardened criminals,” one officer tells the New York Times. Some 55 people have been charged, and 187 pit bulls confiscated and euthanized.

In their 17 months posing as gang members, the undercover agents documented a culture that thought nothing of the brutal treatment of dogs: Those who lost in the ring were killed, and even successful pit bulls lived in "torturous conditions," says a Humane Society vet, who adds that "death was more pleasant than what they had to exist for.” Officials say this bust is just the beginning—“We could have gone on and on and on with this investigation,” says one.