Despite being banned in all 50 states, and facing a backlash when quarterback Michael Vick was involved, the ancient blood sport of dogfighting is thriving in the American underground, with hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake on big matches, police detectives and prosecutors say. Some state laws about animals have not been updated in a long time, and others require no minimum mandatory jail time, so while arrests and convictions can be disruptive to dogfighting rings for a short while, the practice continues to flourish.
This is a much bigger problem than people realise. Law enforcement is learning that there’s an absurd amount of money involved.
Officer Ivan Ivan Wick, a dogfighting investigator with the Milwaukee Police Department
A few big federal busts — like a case that busted a 357-dog ring in 2013 — that have occurred since Vick are rooting out some large fighting groups, the more investigators look for organised, professional level dogfighting, the more they are finding. Arrest data collected by the Humane Society of the U.S. since 2011 show hundreds of busts ranging from San Francisco to New York City, and in nearly every state.