The Heart of a Dog

Why kids make their pit bulls fight

| July-August 1996

The San Francisco news media recently ran stories about pit bull fights featuring gruesome photos of half-dead dogs used as bait to train the 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. Pacific News Service commentator Charles R. Jones discusses the issue with his friend Squirt. 

CRJ: How does a dogfight 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 dogfighting?