Power And Control

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'Power and control'

Dr. Randall Lockwood

So how do dog fighters justify the suffering caused to their animals?

Pit bull found in North Carolina with fighting injuries

Causing an animal suffering is about power, experts say

Dr Randall Lockwood, a psychologist and senior vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to

Animals, says that historically dog fighters did not see the dogs as sentient, feeling creatures, but did profess to care for them.

However, he says, there seems to have been a shift recently towards more brutal and

vengeful treatment of the animals as dog fighting has been increasingly adopted by gang culture.

"Part of the psychology of dog fighting is the same as other forms

of animal cruelty - a lot of it is about power and control," he said.

Add to this the dog fighter's identification with his animal in the ring - and

desire to win "bragging rights" - and the scope for violence is great.

"The dog fighter sees his dog's victory as having a direct reflection on his strength and manliness, which

I think is one of the reasons that we see brutal treatment of animals that don't perform well," Dr Lockwood said.

"The failure of the animal is seen as a personal failure, an embarrassment, and

something where you need to prove your strength and dominance by getting even."