The issue of dog fighting was first brought to light back in 2007 after NFL quarterback Michael Vick was arrested for running an illegal dog fighting ring. Now dog fighting, as well as other forms of abuse, are becoming a problem in Central Wisconsin.
Back in July, a Wisconsin Rapids teen was accused of cutting a puppy's ear with a razor blade. An action the Sheriff's Department says is indicative of dog fighting. A problem Executive Director of the South Wood County Humane Society, Bridget Chariton, says is growing.
"I think it is on the rise. We've seen some dog fighting where it necessarily didn't occur before," Chariton told NewsChannel 7.
Looking at the statistics, the numbers actually appear to stay consistent. But that's only because dog fighting is difficult to prove.
"A lot of it we almost have to walk in on it while it's either happening or it just happened," Lieutenant Shawn Becker of the Wood County Sheriff's Department said.
That's why it's important to be vigilant, looking out for any suspicious activity.
"Take a look at the animals, the dogs, if they're outside quite a bit. If they seem to be aggressive in nature if you go by them, those might be some signs you have a concern there," Lieutenant Becker said.
Chariton adds, "If you happen to run into a dog and it's got wounds to the face, to arms, or legs, or the neck that could be a sign of dog fighting."
Ultimately, it is the nature of the person who raises the dog that effects behavior, not breed.
Lieutenant Becker points out that, "Any breed could be involved. Of course, everyone's going to point a finger at the pitbull breed or that type of dog, but it really boils down to how people treat their animals and how they train them."
Luckily, many dogs rescued from dog fighting or other abusive situations can be rehabilitated with a little TLC. You can adopt a rescue dog, but the Humane Society wants you to know it takes a special kind of person to take care of these animals. They say a good match is someone who has prior experience and feels comfortable around dogs. They also need to be able to devote a lot of one-on-one time to the rescue.