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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 9th September 2016 > FIDO IS A KILLER


Inside the ancient, brutal blood sport of Japanese dogfighting


JAWS OF DEATH: No permits or licenses are required to stage dogfights in Japan, so there’s no official tally for how many matches are held each year.

HIROSHI SUDO takes a pair of pliers, clamps them around a dog’s tooth and twists. The tooth comes free in a spray of bloody spittle. The dog snarls, but Sudo has tied a washcloth around his snout so the dog can’t bite him. Sudo hands the tooth to the dog’s owner, who puts it under a hose, then wipes it off with a rag and pock ets it. Later, he’ll drill a hole through it, string a leather cord through the hole and wear it around his neck, a grisly memento.

On weekdays, Sudo is a veterinarian at an animal hospital in Toride, about 25 miles north- east of Tokyo. On weekends, he moonlights at dogfi ghts, stitching up cuts and pulling loose teeth. “We do the bare minimum here,” he says through a translator. “Emergency response.” For anything more serious, he recommends that dog owners visit an animal hospital. But that’s not an option today, because it’s Sunday, the one day in the week when most animal hospitals, like most businesses in Japan, are closed.

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