Illegal animal fighting is a blood-sport in which animals are specifically bred and trained to fight each other within an enclosed pit or ring, for the benefit of individuals who place bets on the animal they believe will win. The fights are extremely brutal, with animals often fighting to the death.
In addition to the extremely violent nature of the animal cruelty involved, illegal animal fighting events almost always include other criminal activity, such as gambling, drugs, prostitution and illegal firearms. (Large amounts of money exchange hands during these gambling events, and where there is money, there are guns and other weapons present.)
Additionally, it is quite common for children to be used during these events, often as runners for the betting process. This brings up the obvious issue of exposing children to illegal activities, and it also contributes to their de-sensitivity to violence as they are exposed to these brutal and bloody scenes of animals ripping each other to pieces for money. Quite often, during a dog or cockfighting bust, these young runners are overlooked during the questioning process - which is part of what makes them desirable to use from an illegal animal fighter's standpoint.
Other Types of Animal Fighting
Trunking: When two dogs (usually pit bulls) are thrown into the trunk of a car to fight. The trunk door is closed, and the last dog standing is the "winner".
Hog-Dog Fighting (Hog dogging, hawg dawgin', hog baiting, hog dog "rodeos"): When a dog (usually pit bull) is pitted against a feral pig, or hog. This seems to be a more common pastime in the southern states. The HSUS believes that hog dog fights regularly occur in at least ten states: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.
Badger Baiting (Badger Digging): When a dog or dogs is pitted against a badger - illegal but not uncommon in the UK. The badger, which may first be partially disabled by being beaten over the head with a spade, or by having its jaw broken or its legs chained, is placed in a baiting pit or some other makeshift arena. It is then set upon by a succession dogs, which are goaded on by their owners. The dogs used are often the terriers that are used when the badger is dug from its sett. According to RSPCA inspector Ian Briggs, 10,000 badgers are killed or injured by diggers every year.
In hog-dogging and badger-digging, the hogs and the badgers as well as the dogs usually sustain considerable injury and sometimess die.