A barbaric trend in dog fighting, called “trunking,” which was revealed in a May 2013 article by the Florida Sun Sentinel and a Local 10 News video, immediately convinced Broward County legislators to take action to address it.
Trunking is the term used for placing two or more dogs, usually Pit Bulls, in the trunk of a car—preferably an older model, heavy-duty vehicle with a tough metal body—and letting them fight to death.
The driver turns up music on a high-decibel sound system and drives around while the frightened animals try to kill each other in total darkness. Victory is in merely surviving in a space that allows no rest from constant attack. In about 10-15 minutes, or when the rolling suspension and thuds of thrashing bodies stop, so does the car.
The trunk is then opened. If one of the dogs managed to survive without sustaining permanently debilitating or fatal injuries, it then has a higher value for betting and lives to fight again, usually in a regular arena, called a pit.
“Trunking” is not a new phenomenon. In 2008, the New Jersey SPCA was already bringing it to the attention of the media as a problem in their state. A video made at that time by Pet Pulse, which emphasizes the $5,000 reward still offered by the Humane Society of the United States for any tips on dog fighting,“Hidden in Darkness: 'Trunking' is Dog Fighting's Ugly Secret, can be seen below:
Florida Addresses “Trunking”
On May 24, a Sun Sentinel editorial discussed the fact that Broward County is considering an ordinance that would “…hurt those who hurt dogs.” and opined, “It deserves passage.”
Dog fighting is already a felony under Florida state law and conviction can mean up to five years in prison.
In April 2013 the Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill that adds animal fighting and baiting as a racketeering offense to the state’s organized crime statute and allows prosecutors to charge offenders with multiple counts of animal abuse when multiple animals are involved.
But county commissioners are now considering a proposal that adds an additional penalty at the local level and “would attack the wallets of people involved in canine fights, a rightful hammer for penalizing those who would abuse animals,” the Sentinel writes.
"In my district, people are breeding dogs to fight," Commissioner Barbara Sharief said at a May 6 commission meeting when the ordinance was made public. "I wanted to increase the fees and put some teeth in the [current] ordinance."
If passed, those who force dogs to fight, along with breeders, trainers, transporters, ticket sellers and hosts, would face $500 fines per incident, the highest amount permissible by state law.
She told the Sun Sentinel editorial board that many of the 4,800 stray dogs found in Broward in 2012 bore fighting wounds.
Sharief also wants to fund three more animal control officers in Broward, which has 13 full-time officers, compared to Palm Beach, which has 28, and Miami-Dade, which has 33. The additional positions would require no increase in taxes, she assures.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose Pepe Diaz told Local News10 he considers “trunking” on par with murder. Diaz said that if a person can abuse a dog, they can easily do the same to a human being.
IS DOG FIGHTING “PREMEDITATED MURDER”?
Ashley Thompson, of Hollywood, Florida, wrote a letter about “Trunking” which the Sun Sentinel published on June 6. It is so compelling and touching that it must be shared here, in part.
Ashley Thompson writes: “Has today's society become desensitized to moral issues? I find myself pondering this countless times every day…I recently heard on the news about a new horrendous act of animal violence that is called ‘trunking.’…”I am not only infuriated by this behavior, but I am completely perplexed by the fact that people actually earn a living by betting on dog fighting. They have no remorse for their actions…. The dogs don't have a voice or a way to stand up for themselves. People do, however, and should. “Dog fighting is premeditated murder and the punishment should finally fit the crime. Stop the violence.”
“Hidden in Darkness: 'Trunking' is Dog Fighting's Ugly Secret
Thanks to Miami Local 10News, the Sun Sentinel, and Ashley Thompson, for being the voice for these animals.