Animal cruelty is a subject sensitive to many people because they own and have developed some sort of love for their pets, or at least this is the most common reason. Their love for their pets eliminates the chance that they can look at animal cruelty with any semblance of objectivity, contributing to a hysterical response to any occurrence of this supposed brutalization. This all seemingly contrasts, however, with the notion that animals are inferior to humans (which they are) and that we may then logically do with them whatever we want (not true).
I do not endorse a crazed abuse of animals to satisfy some desire to be cruel. this is probably a genuine 'sickness' and, if not 'sick', certainly highly illogical. There is nothing to be gained from doing this that is productive.
I also do not support abuse to pets to make them do something better. This is, of course, viewed as abuse more in regard to activities like animal fights, but typically not if performed to instruct one's one one's pets, which is a gross hypocrisy. This is a foolhardy way to attempt to differentiate. A better separation between instruction and abuse here is how wanton it is or with the temperament in which it is applied as a detriment. If one relentlessly beats a dog for biting a stranger, then it is abuse, but if one hits it and firmly tells it 'no!', then it is obviously instructive. The difference in temperaments here is fairly clear: in the former, the beating is too severe because of some stupidity or anger or a genuine satisfaction in beating the dog, or maybe even to overcome inadequacy, or some mixture thereof; the second situation, however, implies a calm and rational demeanor and approach.
Though I do not support beating the animal to make it fight better, I do support making it fight or race or lead a blind human or whatever logical means the owner wants to use an animal toward. If done with no sense of malice, and with no abuse involved, then it is not cruelty. It might become cruelty, but it might not lead to, and while something like pure 'dogfighting' is going to be more seemingly cruel, I do not want to try and make a distinction between that and horse racing, which is seemingly less cruel to most, but probably is of the same pain for the animal; both are unpleasant, but it is using the animals for a profit. It is not a malice filled endeavor, even if the animal experiences pain, and it is perfectly acceptable because animals are our tools. there is nothing wrong with being detached of emotion in regard to animals instead of assuming an emphatic and indignant love of them. I find many animals awesome, but it does not make me sad when one dies, and I will not feel badly if I kill one incidentally to something I do such as driving. They are our tools and we have the right to utilize them in whatever intelligent manner we choose.