“We want the public to see that dogs used in dog fighting are the victims of the crime as well as individuals, not as instruments of the crime,” Dr. Randall Lockwood senior vice president of the ASPCA Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects said, referencing “Dog Fighting: The Voiceless Victims” the ASPCA exhibit at the Washington, D.C. Crime Museum. He added the public needs to understand the “brutality of dog fighting, and see it’s the greatest violation of the human-animal bond.” State-of-the-art tools of veterinary forensics experts are displayed and, when combined with veterinary medicine, reveal how animals may have suffered or died.
Dog fighting tools used are part of the Crime Museum exhibit, including electrocution devices used to execute dogs who lose a fight or who don’t have enough intent to kill, homemade nail spiked collars, conditioning equipment used in training fighters, break sticks used to pry open the jaws of a dog who won’t release another dog (no, Virginia, there is no such thing as a “locking jaw” in any dog) and other artifacts of this relentlessly cruel, endlessly punishing crime.
Dog fighting crime runs through too many communities across all 50 States and is a felony in each. The Crime Museum exhibit is meant to show people the extent of the cold-blooded betrayal training dogs to fight has on our bond with dogs. We need only look at Denver to see the unjust and unreasoned rage that has rained down on pit bulls for more than 20 years there, where thousands have been ripped from their families and homes and killed without being guilty of even biting, let alone fighting. Pit bull type dogs are the victims, not the perpetrators, another message this exhibit imparts.
The Museum’s chief operating officer Janine Vaccarello (h/t John Woestendieck, Ohmidog!) said that while they considered what children would see in this exhibit, they also wanted people to take action once they left the building.
The ASPCA exhibit includes evidence seized during raids, one of which was 8 State sweep of dog fighting rings in 2009, and another involving the infamous Michael Vick, an NFL quarterback, who ran a dog fighting ring and served a jail sentence and paid fines for his crimes. The exhibit is open now through September 2, 2013.