She’s only two years old, but her face is a mass of deep cuts. Her left ear is torn almost completely off. Her right leg was broken a while back. It never healed right, and bends at an unnatural angle. She doesn’t put weight on it. There are puncture wounds on her neck. Her name might be Daisy, or Lola, or Chance. She’s a pitbull used for dog fighting. And she’s just one of countless victims of this illegal underground blood sport that is staged for the purposes of entertainment, gambling, status jockeying and sometimes just pure cruelty by what an ASPCA estimate puts at tens of thousands of people across the United States.
Up until recently, the canine victims of this crime were largely voiceless. They lived with injury and pain. They charged into fights fueled by both instinct and the desire to please the very master who sent them into harm’s way for a few hundred bucks or an uptick in personal status. Most ultimately died, some mercifully via a bullet, others slowly and painfully, abandoned after losing a fight. But now, these victims have a small but very powerful ally: DNA. Continue reading “DNA: Giving Voice to a New Population of Victims”