There is absolutely, positively, unequivocally, no way to know if a dog was used as “bait” unless you know the intention of the person who abused the dog to begin with.
Serious injury, fear of other dogs, aggression toward other dogs, scars, filed down teeth, etc. can all be caused by numerous things, many far more likely than “bait”. Simply allowing a smaller, weaker dog to engage in a fight with a stronger, bigger dog does not even mean that the smaller dog was used as bait. It’s quite possible that the person allowing the fight really thought the smaller dog might win. You cannot know unless you know what the person was thinking at the time and the only way you’d know that is with a confession.
It is extremely damaging to fighting dogs, dogs who are victims of abusers, to make a distinction between “pet” dogs used as bait and fighting dogs.
Fighting dogs can be pets. When we see sentences such as, “Vick used pet dogs as bait to train his fighters,” you are essentially saying that fighting dogs are not pets, cannot be pets, and should not be pets.
It is highly unlikely that a spayed or neutered pet will end up in a fighting ring.
Dog fighters want to make money. Money is made both during a match and in breeding and selling the offspring of champion fighters. Despite what you see on Facebook, the vast majority of dogfighters are not going to shelters and rescues and adopting altered pets to start a doggie fight club.
Dog fighters know that what they are doing is criminal.
Because they know that they are breaking the law, and they are likely making money breaking the law, the motivation to keep everything undercover is great.
It is highly unlikely that you will ever hear a serious dog fighter doing anything to let you know that he or she is fighting dogs. Dog fighters are your co-workers, your neighbors, your home repair people. They come from all walks of life, have all different colors of skin. They have families. They look and behave just like any other criminal does in day-to-day life. They often get away with the crimes they commit for a long time simply because they aren’t boasting about what they do to anyone who will listen.
Dog Fights have rules. Believe it or not, but those who participate in fighting dogs see it as a sport.
There is money to be made, and money to be lost. Like all sports where betting is involved, there are rules. Lots of rules. Dog fighting used to be legal in the United States. And when it was legal, it was seen as a normal thing to do. Here are the Cajun Rules, if you’d like to read them. Many dog fighters to this day still play by these rules.
Conditioning a dog to withstand a fight and training a dog to fight are two very different things.
Dogs used in fighting go through a “keep” where their handlers work to get them into top physical condition so they can perform well in the ring. Crenshaw’s Keep is here; you’ll notice there is no mention of using other dogs as bait.
Unlike human fighters, dogs are not actually trained to fight.
Dog fighters do not instruct a dog on how to grip and hold, when to go after another dog, or where to grab another dog. They do not instruct a dog to do these things because when a dog is fighting, it is in its basic instinct mode and not doing much actual thinking. A dog is either good at fighting, or it is not. This is not something that can be trained into a dog. You may have heard of gameness. In the fighting dog world, “game” in its most basic sense is a highly-sought characteristic in a dog to not give up, even when faced with excruciating pain or threat of death. Gameness is not something that can be taught. You may be familiar with German Shepherds used in police work. Were you aware that many dogs fail to complete the training? For the same reason that a police force cannot simply pick any random German Shepherd and make him a police dog, a dog fighter cannot simply pick any random Pit Bull and make him into a fighting dog. This is a great article explaining what goes into choosing a dog for police work.
Using a smaller, weaker dog to “train” another dog to fight is ridiculous.
Consider a human boxer, for example. What benefit would Mike Tyson gain from punching a 2 year old child tied to a chair? How would doing that improve his speed, accuracy, or skill? The same is true of conditioning a dog to fight. Engaging in a fight with a dog that is smaller and weaker is not going to help a dog become a better fighter. Remember, dog fighters want to make money. They don’t want to waste money. They don’t want to waste their dog’s energy on anything that will not help them win a fight. Refer to #6 above and read through Crenshaw’s Keep again – everything on that list is to get the dog in tip top physical shape and quickly and safely as possible for the dog. Yes, dog fighting is deplorable on many levels but again, DOG FIGHTERS WANT TO MAKE MONEY, not lose it. Have you ever watched “The Godfather” movies? Think of how the big crime families operated. Did they waste time and resources on things that were not benefiting them? Criminals are criminals are criminals, they do what they need to do to commit their crimes, anything else does not interest them.
Of course, some sadistic morons DO use dogs as bait.
When they do, it’s very gruesome. So gruesome in fact that those dogs very rarely make it out of the situation alive. These people also know how illegal what they are doing is so they are very likely to make sure the dog does not get away. Therefore, the chances of finding a dog that was actually used as bait walking around town is slim to none. I’ll use another example here. You’re familiar with Sex Trafficking, right? You know why it’s so hard to rescue people from those situations? It’s because the criminals who are exploiting and abusing the children, women, and men in the sex trade are very careful to not let them get away. Again, criminals are criminals are criminals. They don’t want to get caught and that includes keeping any evidence that may tie them to their crimes away from the general public.
If you find a severely injured stray dog, PLEASE STOP SAYING IT MUST HAVE BEEN USED AS BAIT!
You aren’t helping the dog’s chances of finding a forever home (many people will not want to deal with that kind of baggage), and you are only continuing to promote the idea that fighting dogs need bait to be good fighters. Guess what? You’ve just signed another dog’s death certificate because those idiots from #9 believe the hype that you are spreading. A dog wandering loose can get into so much trouble, even without the help of all those scary dog fighters that some groups will make you believe are as common as your household roach.
Dogs get in fights with other loose dogs, they get in fights with other dogs when they walk onto their property, they get into fights with crazy big raccoons and they get stuck under fences and cars and tear themselves up trying to escape. Playing the backstory guessing game isn’t doing anyone, including the dogs, any favors at all so please just stop. Don’t let your imagination run wild and mar the future of an injured dog that is living in the present. Do what you can to get her to safety and health, note all her awesome qualities, and focus on making the rest of her years much better than what she went through before meeting you.