Special to the Democrat

The brutal, cruel world of dog fighting isn’t something we’re exposed to every day. In fact, most of us go a lifetime without seeing any first-hand evidence of the gruesome blood sport. The SPCA of Texas reminds you that, tragically, illegal dog fighting exists on an underground level that is as widespread as it is diverse. It exists across all regional, social, socioeconomic and cultural lines, and only you can help stop it.

The only way to end this extreme form of organized cruelty is to educate adults and children alike about the realities of this vile practice and what to do if you see evidence of it.

For the sake of our beloved pets, our families and our community, the SPCA of Texas is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any individual involved in dog fighting in the state of Texas. Help us take a stand today by reporting all suspected animal cruelty and abuse to your local law enforcement and to the SPCA of Texas at www.spca.org/cruelty or (214) 742-SPCA (7722).

Dogs are brutalized every day for the gambling fix and unfathomable enjoyment of sick individuals involved in dog fighting. And society pays the price through the accompanying crimes (gambling and drugs, among others) and increased brutality that influences and is passed on to the children who are surrounded by this sub-culture. It’s a vicious cycle.

The most recent headlines of pro-football player Michael Vick’s indictment for “conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture” and animal cruelty has brought this terrifying issue to the forefront of our national consciousness again. Vick and three others face $350,000 in fines and six years in prison if convicted of the federal charges, and additional state charges of animal cruelty are still under investigation.

Here in Texas, during the 2007 legislative session, Texas lawmakers proved that they stand strongly against the inhumane crime of dog fighting by stepping up the penalties of those convicted of dog fighting. Beginning Sept. 1, 2007, the penalty for dog fighting increases from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony and the punishment for attending a dog fighting exhibition increases from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor.

Let’s take this opportunity to come together and stamp out animal cruelty and abuse of all types. For more information or to help the SPCA of Texas in its mission to provide every animal exceptional care and a loving home, please visit http://www.spca.org/ or contact us at (214) 742-SPCA (7722).

If you’d like to help the SPCA’s Rescue and Investigations Department do more to serve the animals of Texas, you can sponsor an investigator by donating online or by calling (214) 742-SPCA (7722).

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