Reward Offered for Help Finding Dogfighters

Last November the Harris County Sheriff's Department teamed up with other law enforcement to make what they call the biggest dog fighting bust in the country. Authorities says some members of that ring are still at large. They believe other dog fighting rings are still operating in the Houston area but have yet to be caught. So, they're asking for the publics help. Bill Stamps explains.
(sound: barking dogs)

The Houston Humane Society is home to all types of dogs, for all sorts of reasons. Each day new dogs are picked up off the streets and dropped off. Their owners have simply abandoned them. But for workers even those dogs are emotionally easier to take than the fighters. Dogs used for sport-fighting.

Shelly Ferguson runs the humane society and sees the dogs come in in terrible condition

"Emaciated, open wounds, old wounds, all kinds of different things, definitely external and internal parasites."

And those are the ones that survive. Most dogs used for fighting are either killed in the fight or killed by their owners. Last month deputies arrested more than 60 people in several local counties. But now Harris County is teaming up with Crime Stoppers, hoping people will report dogfighters if they know they'll get a reward.

image of dogs that have been dumped"Dogfighting is a barbaric, criminal enterprise and it's run by organized crime and it presents a clear and present danger to public safety."

New District Attorney Pat Lykos is taking the crime seriously and has opened a new anti-dogfighting investigation unit. Her department and Crime Stoppers held a news conference next to a north Houston field where they say dogs are dropped up after their fighting days are over. They call it the corridor of cruelty.

"And this is where they dump the dead dogs and the injured dogs along this parking lot, back here and in the fields and in the forest."

If fighting isn't bad enough they say some smaller dogs are used as bait.

Shelly Ferguson: "The animal is sometimes a rabbit sometimes a kitten it can be a puppy. Any small animal that these animals can be taught to and be coaxed and trained to tear apart. It's very disgusting."

(sound: dogs barking)

At the shelter, dogs that can be adopted sometimes find owners and live to bark another day. Dogs used for fighting are rarely ever that lucky.

Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.

To report someone involved in dog fighting call Crime Stoppers at 713-222- t-i-p-s. You can receive up to a 5-thousand reward.


image of Dog drop off locations