You’d occasionally see cute pictures of dogs and cats with a small patch of their fur dyed a fun color, perhaps matching the hair color of their owner. As long as the dye is animal-safe, it’s all shades of cuteness and we love to see owners bonding sweetly with their animals.
However, a trend that has been allegedly going on for years with animal-coloring reveals the evil that thrives in humanity. If you see any cat with purple-colored paws or any other vibrant colors, you might want to call Animal Control because there’s a chance the pooch is being used as bait in dog-fighting. Domestic animals may be dyed for a variety of reasons but reports over time suggest that some of these colored animals are abused in horrifying ways to entertain spectators.
Animal cruelty at its worst
In this scenario, animals with colored paws are used to bait dogs in fighting rings . Their toes may be painted with vibrant red, orange, green, and purple shades to allow spectators to easily identify and place bets on individual cats. Usually, in these illegal rings, the cats would be mauled to death by the fighting dogs, and it’s impossible to imagine how people derive entrainment from watching such wickedness. Other small animals such as rabbits and hamsters may be used as bait, but cats are the commonest options.
Even worse, the bets are placed on the event that the cat will be killed. Could humanity degrade any further?
In 2017, the Clewiston Animals Control in Florida rescued a purple-pawed cat that was believed to be victim of the intense cruelty of animal fighting rings. It was uncertain how the cat got out of the hellish life, but he was found wandering and immediately transferred to the Naples Cat Alliance in Golden Gate, Florida.
According to Megan Sorbara, a founding member of the cat non-profit in Naples, the poor thing was being called Mr. Purple Paws and she was instantly convinced about how he got the purple color on his paws.
“Dog fighters use markers to color the white parts of cats and kittens so they can bet on which color will die first,” she wrote on Facebook. “They are ‘color-coded’ and then thrown to packs of dogs, while these sick barbarians place their bets. This is cruelty at its worst. It seems as Mr. Purple Paws was able to escape before he entered the ring.”
Thankfully, the animal was delivered into safe care and was said to be in great health at the time of his arrival.
Always a happy guy
According to Sorbara, the cat was surprisingly happy, gentle, and playful despite the suffering he was believed to have passed through. He wasn’t skittish or afraid of humans. Instead, he wanted to be loved and to play all day long, as though he was elated to finally be free.
“He’s just so sweet, rolling over on his back and giving head butts — just adorable,” Sorbara told The Dodo.  “He doesn’t have a care in the world. He’s Mr. Happy. He was playing with toys in his cage last night. You can just pick him up, carry him around on your shoulder — he likes to be held.”
Continuing on Facebook, Sorbara says she hopes the evildoers will eventually be brought to justice and more cats can gain freedom from a horrible reality.
“I can only hope more were able to get away,” Sorbara wrote, “but my real hope is that the perpetrators of this heinous ‘sport’ be found and prosecuted.”
While many articles online have been attributing the dyeing of pet paws with illegal animal fighting rings since 2017, there has never been any hard evidence proving the allegation. Snopes got in touch with the Naples Alliance to confirm the theory, and the organization stood by their initial assertion.
“The story is true although we definitely made assumptions about why his paws were colored,” the organization wrote. “We based it on the fact that he came from an area that is well known for dog fighting. We couldn’t get the dye off, so it wasn’t hair color or any water soluble marker. The timing of his arrival coincided with information we had been receiving from local law enforcement about dog fighting and coloring or numbering the bait animals. Can we definitively say he was a victim of dog fighting, no. We based it on info and location. It would also make sense because he is a friendly cat and would readily approach a ‘friendly’ stranger, so he would be easy to catch.”
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, (RSPCA), says the reports are false and that cats are not dyed for dog-fighting rings. Animal groomers occasionally used cydectin, a pour-on treatment to fight infections and parasites in their farms. To separate the treated from the untreated, cydectin is usually dyed purple or any other vibrant color. People online also mentioned that cats and dogs may occasionally step onto the colorful medication which is hard to wash off, hence the dyed paws.
However, if you see any animal on the streets with colored paws looking scared, lost, malnourished, bruised, or dehydrated, it’ll be a wise decision to call an organisation or Animal Control.
Under Federal law in all 50 states in the U.S. and in many other countries, dogfighting is illegal and will always remain an immoral felony.  Setting up innocent animals to fight, hurt, or possibly kill each other can only be done by the lowest of the low, and it is a crime punishable by the law in any place. If you have any information about dog fighting rings or confirmed organizers, you’d be doing several innocent animals a great service by reporting their torturers to the appropriate authorities.
- “If You See A Cat With Purple Paws, Pick It Up And Take It To The Nearest Shelter. It’s Being Used As Bait.” The Animal Rescue Site. C. Dixon. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
- “ Cat Marked As ‘Bait’ For Dogfights Is So Relieved He Escaped.” The Dodo. Elizabeth Claire Alberts. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
- “Dogfighting fact sheet.” Humane Society. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
- “Are Cats with Purple Paws Used as Dogfighting Bait?” Snopes. David Mikkelson. Retrieved August 17, 2020.