Angry about Dog Fighting? Join us!

Dog Fighting exists in Ontario! Working together we can stop this heinous act and end this cruelty towards animals.


What is Dog Fighting?

Dog fighting is a sadistic "contest" in which two dogs—specifically bred, conditioned, and trained to fight—are placed in a pit (generally a small arena enclosed by plywood walls) to fight each other for the spectators' entertainment and gambling.

Fights average one to two hours, ending when one of the dogs will not or cannot continue.

How does it cause animal suffering?

The injuries inflicted and sustained by dogs participating in dog fights are frequently severe, even fatal. The American Pit bull terrier-type dogs used in the majority of these fights have been specifically bred and trained for fighting and are unrelenting in their attempts to overcome their opponents. With their extremely powerful jaws, they are able to inflict severe bruising, deep puncture wounds, and broken bones.

Dogs used in these events often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or infection hours or even days after the fight. Other animals are often sacrificed as well including dogs that are used in training and practice sessions.

In describing the details of one particular dog fight, a convicted dog fighter wrote:

"Miss Rufus spent most of the rest of the fight on her back and Bandit broke her other front leg high up in the shoulder, as well as one of her back legs, in the knee joint. The only leg she didn’t break she chewed all to hell. She had literally scalped Miss Rufus, tearing a big chunk of skin off the top of her head alongside one ear." – Humane Society of the United States

Are there other concerns?

Yes. Numerous law enforcement raids have unearthed many disturbing facets of this illegal "sport". Young children are sometimes present at the events, which can promote insensitivity to animal suffering, enthusiasm for violence, and disrespect for the law. Illegal gambling is a prime motivator for dog fights. Dog owners and spectators wager thousands of dollars on their favorites. Firearms and other weapons have been found at dog fights because of the large amounts of cash present. Illegal drugs are often sold and used at dog fights.

What laws are in place under the Ontario SPCA Act to deter dog fighting?

Dog fighting is not a spur-of-the-moment act; it is a premeditated and cruel practice.

View dog fighting charges under the Ontario SPCA Act.

Is dog fighting a Pit Bull issue?

Pit bulls are often, though not exclusively trained as fighting dogs.  Irresponsible dog owners who intentionally breed Pit bull type dogs to fight and be aggressive are to blame for the negative image and attitudes towards Pit bulls.

In Ontario, the Dog Owners' Liability Act ensures that the owner of any aggressive dog, regardless of breed, is held accountable for the actions of that dog.

What is BSL?

There is confusion regarding Ontario's Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). BSL is not related to the Ontario SPCA Act or to our Ministry. BSL is a clause contained within the Dog Owners' Liability Act (DOLA), which falls under the Ministry of the Attorney General. The Ontario SPCA did not create the legislation and it is generally enforced through municipal animal control organizations. BSL restricts and prohibits pit bulls and Pit bull type dogs in the province of Ontario.

Dogs removed from alleged dog fighting ring are not assessed according to their breed. Any course of action taken is not taken based on a dog's breed. The Ontario SPCA routinely employs its Animal Transfer Program to transfer healthy, adoptable pit bulls or pit bull type dogs out of Ontario to homes, shelters or sanctuaries where it is lawful to own the breed.

What can I do to help stop dog fighting?

  • Learn how to spot the signs of dog fighting.
  • An inordinate number of aggressive dogs being kept in one location, especially multiple dogs who are heavily chained and seem unsocialized.
  • Dogs with scars on their faces, front legs, and stifle area (hind end and thighs).
  • Dog fighting training equipment such as treadmills used to build dogs' endurance, "break sticks" used to pry apart the jaws of dogs locked in battle, tires or "springpoles" (usually a large spring with rope attached to either end) hanging from tree limbs, or unusual foot traffic coming and going from a location at odd hours.
  • What can I do to help stop Dog Fighting?

Report dog fighting:

In addition to the general public, utility workers, postal carriers or public works employees may see signs of dog fighting in their routine installations, deliveries or maintenance work. Animals need your help!

  • If you witness a dog fight in progress, call your local police unit immediately.
  • If you suspect dog fighting is taking place at a residence, call the Ontario SPCA Animal Cruelty Hotline at 310-SPCA (7722).
  • If there are multiple reports of dogs missing or being stolen in your area, call 310-SPCA (7722) or your local police.
  • If you see an animal that appears to be neglected outside of involvement in dog fighting, report it at 310-SPCA (7722).

How to recognize possible dog fighting factsheetHumane Society of the United States.



Additional Resources