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.