When will some people finally understand the sick, twisted nature of dog fighting?

Sometimes something is so obvious that it sounds ridiculous to even say, but then we're smacked in the face with the reality that not everyone believes the same way. This is especially true to the vast majority of us who believe fighting dogs - or any kind of animal - is cruel, barbaric and should be eradicated.

Here in Highlands County we've had cases of dog fighting, and one person in particular just went to trial. In that case, James Reed was found guilty of attending a dog fight and resisting arrest, but not cruelty to animals, even though a police officer saw him holding a pit bull off the ground by a chain that had just finished fighting. His socks and shoes were covered in blood, according to the officer.

For some people in our society, and every society, these kind of horrendous activities are considered enjoyable and entertaining. For most of us we cannot fathom how that could be, but it continues.

Obviously these people were raised to believe that all animals are such low forms of life that treating them this way is somehow acceptable. For those of us who have owned and loved dogs, we know they love, fear, care and feel pain on the same level that we do. That someone could subject them to this brutality is no different than doing the same to humans. And it's not just dog fighting.

We struggle with the concept that someone could find this kind of thing acceptable. How could anyone with a heart not only allow, but promote the ripping to shreds of another animal? How could these same people use "bait" dogs for training purposes to be maimed and killed as a part of some sort of heinous game?

If gambling on these animals is the draw, there are many outlets to gamble that don't require this. If it's competition they seek, well, there are a million ways to compete against someone else without brutality. But this is ridiculous, because it's not about any of these things. This is pure and simple blood lust.

Humans have shown since the dawn of time that we can do horrific things to other living, loving, breathing creatures for no reason other than some sort of sick entertainment. The good news is that usually, at some point, we come to the conclusion - either through enlightenment or shaming - that what we're doing is wrong. For some reason, though, this doesn't take with some folks.

We hope the enforcement of these crimes increase and the penalties become harsher. Eliminating this kind of abomination might be impossible, but we should try. We can't force someone to grow a conscience or a heart, but we can show them that the rest of us will do everything in our power to stop them.