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Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
27 June 1999 Issue

Why Kids Fight Their Pit Bulls - A Conversation in the Hood
By Charles R. Jones

Date: 03-12-96

For weeks the San Francisco news media have headlined stories about pit bull fights featuring gruesome photos of half-dead dogs used as bait to train pits. The missing voices in these stories invariably are those of the young people who breed, train, fight, sell, abuse -- and sometimes love -- pit bulls. What makes pit bulls vicious? How does a fight start? What draws people to the cruelty of the fight -- the thrill of making money or something else? PNS commentator Charles R. Jones (aka CRJ) exchange views on these questions with his friend Squirt.

CRJ is a staff reporter for YO! Youth Outlook, a newspaper by and about young people published by Pacific News Service.

CRJ: What's your name?

Squirt: Squirt.

CRJ: How does a dog fight happen?

Squirt: It starts off like this: the owner walks down the street and sees another owner with a dog tied up. He asks, "Do you want to fight?" and the other guys says "Yes." They may bet money on the side or they may bet the dog's life. Or they may just say, "We're fighting for souls."

CRJ: What gets the dogs to fight?

Squirt: Sometimes the owner puts cocaine on their nose. That's like a man drinking beer -- it gets the dog on the evil tip. Then they go up in the field or out in the middle of the street. They don't be caring who sees.

CRJ: How do people feel about dog fighting?

Squirt: They love it. Even mothers come out to watch. Seeing two dogs going at it -- like a life is about to be took. It's a trip when it happens, way better than a boxing match.

CRJ: How do you feel about dog fighting?

Squirt: I think (it's) cool if it's just one-on-one, but if you use one dog for a bunch of pit bulls to just rip up, that ain't cool.

CRJ: You don't think it's mean to dogs even one-on-one?

Squirt: It depends on what type of dog it is. If it's the same size and nature of dog and is ready to go the rounds, let 'em go. But if it's a little wimpy dog against something like a Rottweiler, leave it alone.

CRJ: I hear you. It's like dogs have personalities...I've seen dogs that just didn't like other dogs.

Squirt: Yeah. You can't blame people for exploiting that anger to their advantage. From what I seen, it's some dogs that's born evil even as little puppies.

CRJ: So you wouldn't fight, say, a German shepherd because it isn't as violent in nature as a pit bull?

Squirt: No, that's wrong because a k-9 can be worse than a pit. The trainer also makes a dog vicious. It depends on who trains it. A shep can be trained to be a straight man-eater, but it isn't born mad. Pits are. That's why they're called "devil dogs." They'll turn on you in a rage.

CRJ: A dog is an expensive possession. It seems only fair for dogs to earn their keep by fighting. Is that why owners fight them?

Squirt: Some people fight dogs for cash cuz it's their only income, or some fight out of love or pride. But mainly they like to gamble on the dog's life, not for money. They want to see which dog is best.

CRJ: How many dogs you got?

Squirt: One.

CRJ: What's his name?

Squirt: He's a pit terrier named Fluffy Mac.

CRJ: That's a trip. Remember when we was little the toughest dog around was always a Shepherd named King. Now it's pits and ruts like Undertaker and Dahmer. So much changes as you grow up. When you're little, you make puppies fight by bumping their noses together. As you age it all gets so serious. People get shot, dogs get shot, money is won and lost. It's deep.

Squirt: Where I used to live there was a stray pit (very rare) named Cocaine. The dudes outside used to use Cain as a sparring partner to get him off the set or just give his dog a good fight. Well, this time Cain won and almost murdered the other dog. So dude dragged his dog across the street and set him on fire.

CRJ: What did you think about that?

Squirt: It's cool, I guess. I don't hit my dog or nothin' if he lose a fight. That's why I don't fight him if he scared. It would be stupid to hit him when he lost if he didn't wanna fight in the first place. I'm outta $200, my dog all ate up, we both feeling kinda bad, you feel me?

CRJ: Why fight a dog? Why do you?

Squirt: To gain respect for the dog and owner. No one will bother you without  gun.

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