Is the Cruel Practice of “Trunking” Real?

Earlier this month, Dogster’s news writer Michael Leaverton shared a story that made everyone cringe. It was the first time we’d heard of “trunking,” a horrific practice where two dogs are shoved into the trunk of a car and driven around, expected to fight until one “wins” and the other dies. This post included quotes from a video report filed by a Miami news station, WPLG Local 10, and featured a group of dogs rescued from a trunking situation by the Miami-Dade Animal Services Department.

The story struck a nerve well outside our regular readership and has been the most-trafficked story of the month thus far. More than 6,000 readers shared it on Facebook, and the response we’ve gotten in the comments section, on our Facebook wall, and in emails was overwhelming. Many were furious with the practice itself, and others were mad at us for “sensationalizing” a report they did not believe to be true.

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A couple weekends ago, Dogster Community Manager Lori Malm and I attended the Blogpaws conference in Virginia, and we were invited to a private viewing of the ASPCA’s dog fighting exhibit at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment in Washington, D.C. Before the tour (which included a startling map of the number of dog fighting arrests made in the U.S., and a selection of sinister-looking contraptions used by dog fighters), we met with Dr. Randall Lockwood, senior vice president of the ASPCA’s Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects.

Lockwood has a ridiculously long and impressive resume, and has worked with humane societies and law-enforcement agencies for more than 30 years. He has testified in numerous trials involving cruelty to animals or the treatment of animals in the context of other crimes such as dog fighting, domestic violence, and homicide. He also helped orchestrate the exhibit we were there to see.

Before the tour, he talked about his work on the forensics team, and he called dog fighting “the greatest violation of that relationship between people and dogs.”

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“Dogfighting does not occur in a vacuum,” Lockwood told us. “It almost always involves illegal drugs and illegal weapons.” And getting those in law enforcement to see the correlation between the sick sport and other crimes has helped make shutting down dog fighting rings more of a priority.

But trunking isn’t something dogfighters necessarily do. After our tour of the exhibit, we took Lockwood aside to ask about the practice, which he confirmed is real (albeit not widespread) and not a Snopes-worthy prank or urban legend. The first time Lockwood heard of an official trunking case was two years ago, and there were rumors about it for years before that.

“We are hearing some reports of trunking. We had recent reports from Texas, some from, I believe, New Jersey and Missouri, but it seemed to be a relatively [isolated] phenomenon,” he said. “Unfortunately it’s one of those things that goes viral on the web, that then idiots hear about and think ‘Y’know, that might be interesting to try.’”

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“It has nothing to do with the ‘sport’ of dog fighting,” Lockwood continued. “It’s nothing that a professional or hobbyist would engage in, because it defeats the purpose of recognizing a well-trained dog and breeding a successful fighter. It’s just brutality.”

“I still hear very few confirmed cases, but I will no longer say ‘Now I’ve heard everything,’ not in this business. There’s no limit to the depths of idiocy that some people will go to.”

If you hear of a trunking or dog fighting incident in your area, the first step is to alert your local authorities or law enforcement agency. The ASPCA also offers a 96-page dog fighting toolkit for law enforcement.

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This post was written by Janine Kahn, Editor-in-Chief at Dogster Magazine.


Karen G3 years ago

thanks for sharing this

Brian M.
Past Member 3 years ago

Humans never seem to lack inventiveness when it comes to creating methods of cruelty.

Nickihermes Celine
Past Member 3 years ago

thank you for sharing 3/7

Bette-Ann Libin
Bette-Ann Libin3 years ago

Can we stop with the crap already...."how can someone be so cruel?" "line them up and shoot the offenders" "how sick can people be?".....what is it about animal cruelty do you not get?
THIS is the behavior of can scream and shout all you want but nothing will you feel better about yourself when you leave such comments? Well, I am picking up your dirty work every day 24/7 volunteering for animals who are the subject of such cruelty! Your comments are meaningless and futile.....try volunteering at your local shelter, try raising awareness towards animal cruelty, how about writing to your congressman for stronger cruelty laws????? These are only a smattering of possible ways to CURB the cruelty you can not stand.....what about inaction don't you understand?

Bette-Ann Libin
Bette-Ann Libin3 years ago

Real or not, herein lies the problem....when you mention something "new" to dogfighters, you've just created the try and solve it.....

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Dogster, for Sharing this!

Susan Cliver
Susan Cliver3 years ago

I am almost speechless.

Deborah W.
Deborah W3 years ago

No job, no motivation, no talent ... need for money without any initial investment, upkeep or housing. Perfect for deadwood.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra3 years ago

Thank you Dogster, for Sharing this!