Authorities: Abused animals all too common

September 24, 2009 (CHICAGO) On Wednesday, police broke up a dog fighting ring in the western suburbs. According to authorities, abused animals aren't uncommon- and can start with children trying to be tough and escalate into gruesome activities for economic gain.

At one time, these dogs would have been forced to fight. But their owners are dog fighters turned animal advocates.

"If you ever asked me to fight a dog or do any type of harm to a dog I'm not tolerating it. Period," said Sean Moore, End Dogfighting Campaign.

Moore and others speak to children about their experience. End Dogfighting Campaign is a pilot program in Chicago that tries to educate kids that dog fighting is not only morally wrong, it's also illegal.

"Me and Sean cause we known in the neighborhood we got a good chance of brining this thing to a slow halt and I willing to give all I can to do it," said Anthony Pickett, End Dogfighting Campaign

The program also offers rewards up to $5,000 leading to arrest and convictions. In November, sheriff's deputies provided this video as they broke up a dog fight in progress. That investigation began with a tip to the End Dog Fighting campaign.

"The community needs to step forward and say we're done with this. We're done with the violence. We're done with the animal cruelty due to the serious impact it has on the kids and the community," said Jordan Matyas, The Humane Society of the U.S.

The Humane Society administers the end dog fighting campaign

"Anybody can call us, and we offer up to $5,000 that leads to the arrest and conviction of a dog fighter or cock fighter. We've paid out 51 rewards, over $100,000 in reward money," said Matyas.

On Tuesday, a raid on three homes in Maywood started from a tip that's being processed for a reward.Nine dogs- four of them puppies- were found.

The dogs from Maywood were brought to the Animal Welfare League. All five adult dogs will need surgery. The four puppies are being treated for parasites.

The leagues president says she is seeing more dog fighting and encourages people with information to come forward.

"How can you take a face like this and make it into something to fight? Something's wrong," said Linda Estrada, Animal Welfare League, on Wednesday.

In the Maywood dog fighting case, bond was set at $500,000 for two of the three men who are charged.

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