BEIJING, July 19 (Xinhuanet) -- An expert said
an estimated 40,000 people in the United States are involved in professional
dogfighting, a blood sport banned in all the nation, according to media reports
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael
Vick and three other people were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury on
charges related to illegal dogfighting, exposing an underworld of cruelty to
The indictment alleges that the 27-year-old Vick and
his co-defendants began a grisly dogfighting operation in early 2001 in which
dogs fought to the death -- or close. Losing dogs were sometimes killed by
electrocution, drowning, hanging or gunshots.
If convicted, Vick and the others could face up to
six years in prison, 350,000 U.S. dollars in fines and restitution.
However, dogfighting is "far more pervasive than
people think" and the nightmare of dogfighting is growing, said John Goodwin, an
expert on animal fighting with the Humane Society.
There are an estimated 40,000 professional
dogfighters in the United States, who putt on fights and buy and sell fighting
dogs, Goodwin said.
An additional 100,000 people are involved in
"streetfighting" -- informal dogfighting, he added.
Dogfighting is illegal in all 50 states. It's a
misdemeanor in Idaho and Wyoming, and a felony in all other 48 states.
Despite the laws, dogfighting is big business.
Goodwin said it's impossible to estimate the amount of money involved, but the
purse for a top-level professional fight could be 100,000 U.S. dollars.