Animal advocacy groups disturbed by interstate dog-fighting investigation

Fort Wayne animal advocacy groups say they work strongly to minimize local dog-fighting

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Local animal organizations are upset by an interstate dog-fighting network that included one Fort Wayne man. Authorities reported that Dajwan Ware is one of nine people being charged for participating in the network, which spans from New Mexico to New Jersey.

Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control director Amy Jo Sites said the last confirmed dog-fighting case they know of was in 2006. She said she’s disheartened by the news of the interstate network.

“It’s not good,” she said. “You are cruelly treating these animals. They are fighting to their death. I don’t know how people can think this is a spectator sport or get enjoyment out of it.”

Sites said you won’t hear much dog-fighting news in Fort Wayne largely because they do a lot to combat it. They work closely with the public and cross-train with police.

“Our agency has a reputation of being in-your-face in the community,” Sites said. “Whether it be preventative education, encouraging proper animal ownership or helping the public to understand what to look for when things are awry.”

One major sign is a dog with scars, especially in frontal regions. Another is a dog tied down with a heavy chain or wearing a thicker collar. If you see a property with a large number of dogs or different types of dogs moving in and out, it could be a dog-fighting location.

Fort Wayne Pit Bull Coalition Board President Megan Close said there is “definitely” dog fighting in town, but just doesn’t know how much of it there is.

“It’s hard to know that because so much of this is underground,” she said. “It takes a lot of law enforcement working together to really dig up what’s happening because it’s not out in the open. They’re very good at hiding things.”

She said Fort Wayne is a convenient location because it’s at the center of several major cities.

“We’re right in the center of Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio,” she said.  “So our location, unfortunately, can sometimes be convenient for those dog fighters to meet in a smaller town. It’s kind of smack dab in the middle of everybody.”

She also said these types of stories hurt the image of pit bulls, who are often associated with dog-fighting and were heavily involved in the interstate network.

“People that are already fearful of the breed can see this as something that vindicates their feelings about the breed, unfortunately,” she said. “The argument against that is that many of these dogs that are used in fighting, it’s not something that they want to do. They’re trained and forced to do so.”

Sites said the Fort Wayne community keeps a strong eye out for dog-fighting. They get several calls a month about suspicious activity. She asks that if you suspect anything in your area to give Animal Care and Control a call.


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