DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD OF PIT-BULL WARS
Douglas Montero. New York Post. New York, N.Y.: Jan 27,
Copyright 2003, The New York Post. All Rights Reserved)
THE "backyard rollers" are amateurs who fight pit bulls
to the death in basements and on the streets - and give everyone in the
"sport" a bad name.
That's according to the pros who call themselves "dogmen"
- breeders operating in a highly organized, underground society.
Shunned by animal lovers and sought by cops, many
dogmen have decent jobs and families. Some are cops, corrections officers,
judges, lawyers or stockbrokers.
Donald, a 45-year-old father of three from the city,
trains, feeds and coddles his pit bulls like pro boxers preparing for a
He estimates there are about 1,000 dogmen in the New
York area. In Virginia, Texas and Pennsylvania, there are thousands more who
communicate through the Internet and underground journals, he says.
He scoffs at animal-loving critics.
"What's the difference between two dogs doing it, and
two men fighting in a ring?" Donald asked.
Donald became a dogman's apprentice at age 17 in
Brooklyn, earning $30 a day cleaning cages and feeding the animals.
He now owns about 40 pit bulls, many kept by hired
By the time a dog is 6 months old, Donald can determine
if the animal is "game" enough - instinctually eager to fight.
Once the dogs hit age 2, Donald starts "rolling" the
well-fed potential champions - placing them in pits against other dogs to
test their style, stamina and biting power.
High-stakes fights are set up by word of mouth,
typically in warehouses. There are usually five fights a night. Admission
ranges from $50 to $200. Dogs are classified by weight, and dogmen earn
Donald charges a $1,000 to $2,000 "stud fee" and will
allow his male champion to mate 10 to 15 times a year. He also picks two
pups from each litter.
"I don't want my dogs to be pretty," Donald said. "I
want a game' dog."
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