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New Study on the Causes of Urban Dogfighting

By Kevin Robinson in News on May 2, 2008 2:55PM

The University of Chicago and the Humane Society released a new study on the causes of urban dog fighting earlier this week. The study was conducted by interviewing current and former dogfighters in Chicago, focusing on why young men and boys in the city get into the illegal practice.

2008_5_dogfighting.jpgKey findings of the study include

  • Street dogfighting is often a means to work out street or gang conflicts.
  • The appeal of dogfighting to youth originates from the desire to appear "tough," to emulate older boys and men on the street, and to combat boredom and even poverty.
  • Dogfighters also describe the violence as "exciting" and are impressed with the competition involved in dogfighting. They emphasize the dogs' toughness, fierceness and tenacity.
  • Many respondents in the focus groups were afraid of dogs and said that all dogs bite.
  • Many of the boys in the focus groups exhibited a general obsession with competition, which can be expressed in dogfighting.
  • When asked about dogfighting, all of the focus group participants knew about or had heard of dogfighting. Not many had personally witnessed a dogfight, but many knew of others who had.

The study, conducted by the U of C's Study Lab, is part of the HSUSA's End Dogfighting in Chicago program, a pilot program aimed at eliminating street dogfighting in inner cities. The program includes pit bull training and community outreach, modeled after successful anti-gang programs. HSUSA is also offers a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in dogfighting.

A separate study of more than 300 people arrested for crimes against animals conducted by Chicago Police Department found that more than 65 percent had also been arrested for battery-related violent crimes and 70 percent for illegal drugs.

Image by littlepretty