Undercover Video Footage: Biggest Dogfighting Bust in U.S. History


  • illustration by Brian Stauffer

At 6 a.m. on July 9, 2009, agents from the FBI, the USDA, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, the U.S. Marshals Service and myriad local police departments raided 29 properties in 8 states, including Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa. They seized more than 200 firearms, arrested 26 people -- and rescued more than 500 pit bulls.

It was, by far, the largest dogfighting bust in United States history.

Click this link to read "Dog Beat Dog," an in-depth chronicle of the investigation.

After the jump is a selection of the video footage entered into evidence during the dogfighting trials.

The raids capped an eighteen-month multiagency investigation spearheaded by two undercover detectives from the Missouri highway patrol who posed as dogfighters to infiltrate the brutal world of organized pit bull fighting and breeding.

In order to make their case, detectives Terry Mills and Jeff Heath had spent a year and a half assembling and training a stable of pit bulls and taking part in the same gruesome activities for which they would later make arrests.

Along the way, the detectives, aided by agents from the Humane Society of Missouri, documented their activities using hidden video cameras.

The images in this three-minute video are blurry, but the scene depicted, in which two young dogs are tested against one another in a confrontation known as a "roll," is violent and graphic.