A pair of young men in the Waterloo area have made a short movie they hope shines a spotlight on illegal dog fighting. The seven-minute-long movie opens with a warning that it’s “not meant for the weak of heart.” Eighteen-year-old Dustin Newhoff, one of the movie-makers, volunteers at Black Hawk Animal Control where he saw pit-bulls who’d been abandoned after a fight.
“When they come in, you see ’em all scarred up,” he says. “You see the blood running down.” Newhoff’s movie includes pictures of pit bulls injured in dog fights — dogs that were dumped and wound up being picked up by Black Hawk County animal control officers.Newhoff says too many people dismiss the idea that dog fighting occurs in Waterloo.
“A lot of people just shrug off and like, (say) ‘oh Waterloo, it only happens in the big cities. Dog fighting (doesn’t) happen in our city,’ but it does,” Newhoff says. Dog fighting is illegal in Iowa. Anyone convicted of owning a dog for fighting purposes could spend up to five years in prison and pay 75-hundred dollars in fines. Watching a dog fight is a misdemeanor.
Black Hawk Animal Control Officer Maria Tiller says the organizers of dog fights are taking ever-greater risks getting caught. No longer are dog fights just held in someone’s basement or garage. ?It goes on in our city parks and it goes on in back alleys,” she says. Tiller says Black Hawk County Animal Control receives an average of three calls per day reporting a pit bull on the loose in the Waterloo area.