LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Police have uncovered an extensive dog-fighting ring they say operated around the Southland and into Mexico.

KCAL9’s Jennifer Kastner spoke to Robin Russell, a pit-bull rescuer from Studio City, about the ring on Wednesday evening.

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “It makes me want to cry because it happens all over, more than we ever know about.”

She’s worked extensively with pit bulls, just like the nine saved from a San Diego home that was raided Wednesday.

Investigators said they first started probing the ring six months ago out of the Antelope Valley. That group led investigators to South Gate and ultimately San Diego.

The purebreds were being taken into Mexico to fight. Experts say owners of a dog that wins a fight can make up to $80,000.

During the raid Wednesday, officials confiscated treadmills for training, trophies, heavy chains and weapons.

Arrests in the ring are pending, and neighbors said they suspected nothing illegal was going on.

“I’d walk past here and they’re be a dog on the front lawn and the dude would just be fixing up his car,” says Paul Williams.

The nine dogs rescued Wednesday will be taken to Lancaster for evaluation.

Russell says the rescued dogs often have deep physical and emotional scars.

“They start them as babies putting chains, putting weights on them, putting them through vigorous, vigorous workouts in the heat,” Russell says.

Despite these conditions, she believes it is possible for these dogs to be rehabilitated.

The LA County Sheriff’s Department says it plans to serve more search warrants in Los Angeles connected to this ring in the near future.

  1. Harve Morgan says:

    Dog fighting has been on the rise since Vick. And these rescuers only are adding to the misery of the breed. They want to save them all when many should not be saved. They do lousy adoptions, just to get them out the door. These poor pits end up in horrible conditions but the No Kill rescuers don’t care, outta sight, outta mind. I see shelter deemed aggressive pits pulled daily by people who claim to be rescuers, when in reality they have never worked with dogs except for the pets their parents had. Rescue needs to be regulated, they are the enemies of the breed. The breed needs to be regulated heavily, averaging killing a person every 10 days now. Maulings and loss of limbs are daily. Yet these wannabe rescuers will pull those aggressive pits from the shelters, drug them, put them on transports to heaven knows where. Yes, they are ending up in fighting rings. But No Kill doesn’t care, it’s a ‘home’, No Kill doesn’t care what kind of home. These rescuers and No Kill are the ones causing the increase in dog fighting, they are so ignorant of their roles in it all.