We have been on the set of HBO’s True Blood series to monitor scenes involving animals, including the dogfighting scenes that appear in the current-season episode titled “Hitting the Ground.” No dogfighting actually occurred, and this episode has earned our “No Animals Were Harmed”® disclaimer.
When we are on the set of film and television productions, we monitor animals to ensure their utmost care and well-being — they are never allowed to be placed in harm’s way, not even during the re-enactment of harm or abuse. For the dogfighting scenes in this True Blood episode, well-trained pit bulls and Rottweilers played the role of the “fighting” dogs. Before the fight scenes were filmed, trainers cued the dogs to perform such mild action as playing tug-of-war with a toy, barking, and going to the end of their leashes. The two dogs that appear in the ring together were actually filmed separately. A stuffed prop dog was used for the dog that was “shot” and “killed” (off screen) and then tossed aside.
Movies or shows like this, which bring attention to dogfighting, provide us with an opportunity to remind communities of the seriousness and sheer brutality of this blood sport. Although it is a felony in every state, dogfighting still occurs in towns and cities across our nation. By becoming informed and aware of the cruelty of dogfighting and the crime and violence it breeds, communities can take steps to abolish it. American Humane offers an animal fighting investigation class for those who want to learn more. If you suspect that dogfighting is going on in your neighborhood, you should alert your local law-enforcement agency.