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Home > Dogs > National Dog Fighting Awareness Day 2024: When It Is & How It’s Celebrated

National Dog Fighting Awareness Day 2024: When It Is & How It’s Celebrated

two dogs fighting outside

Though dog fighting is banned in all 50 states in the U.S., it still happens. And it occurs more often than one might think. To raise awareness about dog fighting and what dogs in these fighting rings go through, the ASPCA designated April 8 every year as National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.

But what exactly does one do on National Dog Fighting Awareness Day? There are plenty of ways you can acknowledge the day and help raise awareness about dog fighting. Check out the information about dog fighting below, then learn more about the ways you can observe National Dog Fighting Awareness Day!

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Some History of Dog Fighting

How did dog fighting originate anyway? It turns out dog fighting has been around for a very long time—since 43 A.D. when the Romans invaded Britain, to be exact. When this invasion occurred, both sides included dogs in the battles that followed. The Romans may have won, but they found that British dogs were much better trained in fighting than their own. So, they brought them home with them to aid in war but also for entertainment. And eventually, the Romans would end up sharing these fighting dogs with the rest of Europe.

This is how dog fighting became popular with the English nobility in the 12th century; the English would have the dogs fight against chained-up bulls and even bears. However, this activity was banned in 1835, as people had begun to talk about not only how few bears and bulls there were but also mentioned animal cruelty. You’d think this would be a positive, but instead, it made people have their dogs fight other dogs rather than larger animals.

It wasn’t until right before the Civil War that these fighting dogs showed up in the U.S. But by the 1860s, the majority of states outlawed “bloodsport” due to animal abuse concerns. And in 1976, dogfighting was banned in every state (although enforcement of this was, shall we say, lax). Then, in May 2007, the Animal Fighting Prohibition Act came about; this act gave a penalty of three years in prison for the transport of animals for purposes of fighting. Finally, in 2014, the ASPCA declared April 8 National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.

group of dogs playing in the park
Image Credit: Jon Osumi, Shutterstock

How Can I Observe This Day?

There are several ways one can observe National Dog Fighting Awareness Day. Take a look below for just a few of them!

  • Learn the signs of dog fighting: Knowing what to look for could help save a dog’s (or many dogs’) life. There are six things to look for if you come across a pup you suspect might be in a fighting ring—a multitude of scars (especially around the ears and mouth), being hooked to a heavy chain, a dirt ring surrounding a dog where it’s chained up, mangled ears, several dogs being chained up closely together, and canines being kept on chains in areas that are out of view from the public (like a basement).
  • Take to social media: You can use social media accounts to raise awareness of dog fighting rings by sharing facts about dog fighting, along with hashtags such as #NDFAD.
  • See if there are petitions or pledges you can sign: In the past, the ASPCA has done campaigns, online Q&As, pledges, and more to combat dog fighting, so check in with them to see what they have planned for the next National Dog Fighting Awareness Day.
  • Adopt a former fighting dog: Adopting a pup saved from a dog fighting ring is a serious undertaking, as dogs can develop PTSD like us and have related symptoms. But if you have the time, patience, and plenty of love, these canines can become the happiest, most loving pets.

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Final Thoughts

Dog fighting is, unfortunately, still much more prevalent than one might think. However, you can help combat the tragedy of dog fighting by observing National Dog Fighting Awareness Day. Doing this means you can help spread awareness about dog fighting, learn more about the signs of dog fighting, sign petitions, and if you’re up to the task, you might even adopt a former dog fighter and change its life.

April 8 is just around the corner, so make sure you’re prepared for National Dog Fighting Awareness Day this year!

See also: What and When is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month? The Details

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Featured Image Credit: Puripat Lertpunyaroj, Shutterstock

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