English

Dog / Cock fights for betting

Region: Ontario Answer # 4038

What is dog / cock fights for betting?

Dog and cock fights for betting refers to organized dog and cock fights. They are a form of animal cruelty and are illegal in Canada. They are typically associated with other illegal activities, such as organized crime and illegal gambling. These events are used as a form of entertainment and profit, where spectators who attend can bet money on whom the predicted winner will be.

Dog fights

Pitbull breeds are typically used for fighting. Dogs are raised and subjected to intense training in order to participate in these fights. Training includes weight pulling, which can involve weights being strapped on their legs, or having to move around with heavy collars around their neck. In addition, “bait animals” – smaller animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, raccoons, and even chickens – are used in the training process, resulting in severe injuries and even death. Furthermore, drugs, such as steroids, may be administered to dogs in order to increase muscle mass and stimulate aggression.

These organized fights involve signed contracts which include:

  • the identities of the “Dogmen”, or owners of the dogs;
  • a “referee” who will observe and call the fight;
  • the location of the fight;
  • the weight of the dogs; and
  • a set of rules which govern the fight, including the dollar value of bets that can be placed.

The fight will end once the referee determines a winner, and sometimes the losing dog may die of its injuries or be euthanized (killed) by its owner.

Cock fights

Cock fights involve two or more birds, typically rooster breeds, which have been bred and trained to fight in an enclosed pit, commonly resulting in the death of one or more birds.

As part of their preparation for the fight, the birds may be injected with steroids and other adrenaline boosting drugs. In addition, they may be kept in a small, dark box to isolate them and ultimately deprive them of natural behavior. Just prior to the fight, a “gaff”,  which is a three-inch long stick with a sharp hook, will be attached to the birds’ legs which is used to slash opposing birds during the fight. The birds are not allowed to exit the fighting pit during the fight, despite severe injuries, and must continue fighting.

Provincial law

All provinces have animal protection legislation which strictly prohibit animal fighting activities.

In Ontario, the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019 (PAWS) prohibits animal fighting activities which includes:

  • Training an animal to fight with another animal and/or participating in a meeting where animal fights are to take place while receiving financial or material benefits.
  • Permitting an animal to be trained to fight another animal and permitting the event where animal fights are to take place.
  • Possessing equipment that is used in an animal fight or to train animals to fight.
  • Possessing a structure that is used for animal fights or to train animals to fight.

Penalties

Under subsection 49(2) of PAWS, animal fighting is an offence.

  • For a first offence, an individual can receive a fine of up to $130,000, or a term of imprisonment of up to two years, or both.
  • For a corporation, a first-time offence can result in a fine of up to $500,000.

Criminal Code of Canada

The Criminal Code makes it illegal to engage in any animal fighting activities, including for entertainment and profit. The following acts are offences under the Code:

445.1(1) Causing Unnecessary Suffering

445.1(1) of the Code makes it a crime to:

(a) wilfully causes or, being the owner, wilfully permits to be caused unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal or a bird;

(b) in any manner encourages, aids, promotes, arranges, assists at, receives money for or takes part in

(i) the fighting or baiting of animals or birds, or

(ii) the training, transporting or breeding of animals or birds for the purposes of subparagraph (i);

(c) wilfully, without reasonable excuse, administers a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to a domestic animal or bird or an animal or a bird wild by nature that is kept in captivity or, being the owner of such an animal or a bird, wilfully permits a poisonous or an injurious drug or substance to be administered to it;

(d) promotes, arranges, conducts, assists in, receives money for or takes part in any meeting, competition, exhibition, pastime, practice, display or event at or in the course of which captive birds are liberated by hand, trap, contrivance or any other means for the purpose of being shot when they are liberated; or

(e) being the owner, occupier or person in charge of any premises, permits the premises or any part thereof to be used for a purpose mentioned in paragraph (d).

Penalties

If found guilty, subsection 445.1(2) provides that an individual may be liable for:

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or to both.

445.1(4) Presence at baiting as evidence

In addition, simply being present at the fighting or baiting of birds may be considered criminal and if found guilty an individual could be subject to the same penalties as offences under section 445.1(1).

Under section 445.1(4):  For the purpose of proceedings under paragraph (1)(b), evidence that an accused was present at the fighting or baiting of animals or birds is, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, proof that he or she encouraged, aided or assisted at the fighting or baiting.

447(1) Arena for Animal Fighting

It is also a criminal offence to engage in activities relating to arenas used for animal fighting.

Under section 447(1): Everyone commits an offence who builds, makes, maintains or keeps an arena for animal fighting on premises that he or she owns or occupies, or allows such an arena to be built, made, maintained or kept on such premises.

Penalties

If found guilty, subsection 447(2) provides that an individual may be liable for:

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to a fine of not more than $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years less a day, or to both.

What to do if you suspect dog / cock fighting is taking place

If you suspect that dog and or cock fighting is taking place, call 911 to report the illegal activity, or contact your local animal welfare organization.

More info

For more detailed information on offences against animals in Canada, view other sections of Animals and the Law, or visit our Links and Resources.

 


Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 12.36.23 PM





								

You now have 3 options:

Was your question answered?


Yes    No


What information would you like to see added?


Submit an Edit Request










What are your changes?*

Page loaded. Thank you