VAN NUYS (CBS) — There is a brutal trend in the illegal dog fighting circuit that sacrifices smaller animals as bait to excite the dogs before they go in the ring.
CBS2’s Mike Dinow reports on “bait animals” and how more of them are being abandoned, clinging to life, and are in need of a good home.
“The bait allows the fighting dog to taste blood and allows that dog to think it’s OK,” said Kyle Schwab, who’s been rescuing dogs for the past 20 years and bringing them to his facility, “Smash Face Rescue”, in Van Nuys.
Schwab said 1-year-old “Zeke”, who is a bait animal survivor, was recently found on the verge of death. Zeke had dozens of puncture wounds and lacerations throughout his body. His swelling was so severe it led to an infection that restricted his breathing.
“His wounds, they’re all defensive – he has no offensive wounds,” Schwab said.
Zeke is one of many animals found abandoned and badly injured after they’ve been used as bait.
Lori Brooks of Hand, Paws and Hearts Rescue said she opened her dog rescue facility in Lancaster because hundreds of bait and other animals are being abandoned in the desert every year.
“They just drive out open the door and drop them off,” Brooks said.
Experts at the Humane Society said mostly very docile dogs and cats are used as bait animals because they won’t put up a fight. Usually, the only animals to survive are other pitbulls because of their high tolerance for pain and their ability to withstand unbelievable damage.
“Sometimes, they’ll cut their face up to draw blood on their face,” said Sasha Abelson, an independent dog rescuer, of how handlers treat the bait animals.
“People will steal family pets, cats, puppies and throw them into the rings to excite the fighting dogs,” according to Abelson.
Dog experts said fighting rings are in concentrated areas throughout Los Angeles, mainly in Pacoima, Panorama City, Sylmar and Van Nuys.
Schwab said as long as the people involved in these fighting rings continue to make huge profits they will continue to conduct dog fights and use defenseless bait animals to train them.
Authorities said you can qualify for a $5,000 reward by anonymously reporting a dog fighting ring by calling (877) NO2-FITE (662-3483).
Many of these bait animals are rescued and need good homes. To find out how you can adopt Zeke or another rescue dog e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or handpawshearts.rescuegroups.org.
If you’d like to help donate towards Zeke’s surgeries go to http://leonardossurgery.chipin.com/zeke-white-bait-dog.