There's nothing quite like taking the wife and kids to an exciting Saturday night dogfight, watching the glee in my children's eyes while two vicious, hulking canine beasts, their muscles rippling with adrenaline, tear each other to pieces, fighting to their glorious deaths in the pit like latter-day animal gladiators.
The excitement builds when the dogmen arrive after sundown; often driving expensive SUVs pulling custom trailers containing their prized fighting dogs. One by one the contenders are led from the trailers while others look on in admiration, some among them wishing that they too were dogmen. Others size up the contenders, determining the amount they will place in bets.
Bookmakers, quickly jotting odds on small chalkboards, start collecting money as enthusiastic bettors yell, "Two thousand on Imperator," or "Put me down for five hundred bucks on Lucky Lady."
Victory or death is the nature of the sport of dogfighting, each dogman, thousands invested in the breeding, training and care of his fighter, petting and giving his beloved champion animal encouragement before they are placed in the pit. A referee is in the pit before the fight; his job is to start the contest by placing the dogs within fighting distance of each other before the scratch line. Once the fight starts, the referee stays in the pit and enjoys the spectacle, watching for one of the dogs to turn.
Illustrating the educational value of the family sport of dogfighting, one evening while watching two dogs in a particularly bloody match, my youngest son asked me what were those purplish veiny things hanging from the belly of one contender.
"They're intestines son," I replied, admiring the dying canine's gameness as it continued to fight on, unto the death. At another match, my eldest son smiled and watched in amusement while a dog called King Odin, blinded in both eyes during the fight, clumsily latched on to the right foreleg of the opponent. Using all his strength, King Odin clamped down and bit the leg off at the shoulder, tearing the joint from the socket. Staring in astonishment with the rest of the crowd, I had never seen such incredible power come from the jaws of a game bull terrier. Curiously, at the end of the match King Odin, though blinded and ostensibly retired due to his injuries, was declared the winner, while the opposing animal, a three year old, four time champion bitch called Silver Streak, bled to death in one corner of the pit.
Another plus with regard to dogfighting is the community atmosphere promoted by the sport; friendly neighbors and fellow church members all gathering around the pit for conversation, good food, and entertainment. Many of the wives make tasty dishes to bring to the dogfights, and cold kegs of Coors and Budweiser are always a welcome addition. The local police chief often brings these beverages, along with coolers of soft drinks for the kids.
Dogfighting has been a part of American culture since before the beginning of the Republic, and is as American as apple pie and the 4th of July. Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin were avid dogfighters, each keeping kennels of ferocious canines for their amusement, often pitting beasts from their kennels against each other in exciting contests of animal strength and endurance.
Drawing on the long history of the sport, I feel that some soul searching is in order, and after careful debate and reflection, it should be proposed that dogfighting be again made legal in all fifty states and territories of the United States of America.