If you have a pet, you know what it’s like to want the world for them. To make sure that they are safe and happy no matter what. In some instances, you even feel that desire spread to all animals, wanting all animals to have a good home and a happy life.

Dog fighting is everything to be despised. It goes against the primary basis of owning a pet, which is to give them love and happiness. Fighting gives them anger and hatred, against other dogs and humans. After being fought, these dogs don’t feel safe anywhere, because all they have ever known is people beating them and dogs biting them. They grow up to fight and die, trying to win another day of life, no matter how terrible that life is.

There are two types of dog fighting, street-based and organized. With street fighting, it’s more of a spur-of-the-moment fight, something where two people bet that their dog could beat the other. While these fights are still cruel and just as dangerous as organized fighting, they are less common and much easier to break apart.

Organized fighting is much more common, and the main source of the horrific tales that are found in the media. With this kind of dog fighting, the owners buy and breed dogs specifically to pit them against each other. Their teeth are filed, and ears and tails chopped to make them fiercer looking. They are kept in disgusting conditions, packed against many other dogs and kept on a short chain throughout their life. They are treated like dirt: malnourished, dirty, and beat until their bones break. These dogs are then thrown into the ring with another dog, where they often fight to the death. People place bets on and throw things at the dogs so that they are angrier and more willing to fight, resulting in the dog’s death or severe injury. When the dogs are no longer useful to the crime unit, they are then either killed or abandoned.

This is no way for any animal, let alone a dog to live. This is also where some of the stigmas against pitbulls and Rottweilers come from; they are some of the most common breeds thrown against each other.

One of the common signs that dog fighting is taking place is multiple dogs chained up in a yard, usually bully breeds such as those mentioned above. Some other signs of dog fighting are dogs with multiple scars or missing ears and tails, evidence of a fighting ring and beating tools, and makeshift dog houses such as old barrels or chicken coops.

This past Sunday, April 8, was National Dogfighting Awareness Day, and in honor of all the dogs out there who are having to suffer through something as horrible as dogfighting, I wanted to bring awareness to this issue. Hug your furry friend tighter, then reach out to help others in need. Dog fighting is something worth fighting against because those dogs can’t help themselves. They need you to look out for them, to love them, and to protect them. They are crying for help, and it is our job to reach out in their time in need.

Finally, dog fighting is highly illegal. Any information you have on dog fighting should be reported to the police, and then to the ASPCA. You could earn up to $5,000 in reward money for any information about organized dogfighting that will lead to a conviction.

For more information on how to help stop dogfighting and for what you can do in your community, visit the ASPCA website, or contact your local law enforcement to report possible dog fighting communities.

Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or of its staff. Emily Fox studies neuroscience. She can be reached at rsuppe@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @TheNevadaSagebrush.