Dog fighting does happen in and around Wichita Falls.
We urge you to report any suspected dog fighting activity to proper authorities.
In Wichita Falls city limits, cases should be reported to the Wichita Falls Police Department at 940-720-5000. Cases occurring in the county, to the Wichita County Sheriffs Office at 940-766-8170. In smaller cities that may not have a police force, it should be reported to the sheriff’s office for your county.
Dog fighting is a felony in all 50 states, and is now also a federal crime. Texas statutes allow for lesser penalties for even POSSESSING equipment used in fights. In other words, law enforcement no longer has to catch criminals in the act of dog fighting to make arrests. As of Feb 7th of 2014, the federal code was amended to make it a federal crime to even ATTEND a dog fight.
Some of the common signs that may indicate there is a fighting operation are :
- Several pit bull type dogs kept in one location that are penned, chained, or seem aggressive and unsocialized.
- Dogs with scars or cuts on their muzzles, necks, or hind quarters.
- Dog fighting equipment like treadmills with leashes tied to them, “break sticks” (basically a short piece of wood used to pry a dogs jaws open) “spring poles”, which are a tether or rope attatched to a spring hanging from a tree for bite training, or tires with harnesses and chains attached.
- Fighting pens. Basically a 10×10 or larger area enclosed with standing pallets or 4′ wooden barricade material.
- A “Jenny mill”. Basically looks like a miniature horse walker. It has a harness where they strap in a bait dog. The harness is attached to a pole, which is attached to a spinning center. The bait dog runs around the mill, and they release the fight dogs to attack the bait dog. They refer to this as “getting their dog blooded up”. They usually do this before a fight or even just for training.
- Stockpiles of horse steroids, antibiotics, and animal medical supplies. Dog fighters quite often stitch up their own dogs and rarely use vets.
- Unusual foot traffic at odd hours. Most fighting operations are directly connected to other criminal activity, especially narcotics trafficking. The Mexican Cartels are even setting up their own rings for profit.
The Humane Society of the United States has put together a very informative “Dog fighting fact sheet“.
The Texas Penal Code statutes are;
Cruelty to Animals- section 42.09
Dog Fighting- section 42.10
Animal Fighting Venture Prohibition- USC 2156