DA announces new tool to combat dog fighting

LOS ANGELES Ten-year-old Clancy has seen a lifetime of dog-fighting trauma. Man's best friend has survived a dog's worst nightmare.

,p> "This is a dog that's been through a hundred fights, nothing but holes, ears are torn off," described Dr. Gary Michelson, an animal activist.

"These people who do this are the same people who beat their wives, kick their children. It's bad enough what they do to the dogs, but these are people who do violence to people too," added Michelson.

Humane Society officials say dog fighting has a long, sad history in Southern California. They're hoping the new tip line will help change that.

The L.A. County District Attorney's Office launched the new 24-hour tip line Tuesday, offering rewards of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest or conviction of individuals involved in dog fighting. The Humane Society has already doled out more than $280,000 nationwide this year in rewards like that.

District Attorney Steve Cooley released a statement saying his office is the first in the nation to join forces with the Humane Society of the United States, which is helping fund the program, to create a tip line dedicated to ending dog fighting.

"Forcing two animals to mutilate each other strictly for greed and entertainment is the most inexcusable form of animal cruelty," said Jennifer Fearing, the Human Society.

The 24-hour tip line (877) NO-2-FITE will be available in both English and Spanish and allows callers to report dog fighting rings, an upcoming fight or individuals involved in dog fighting.

Tipsters can choose to remain anonymous and still collect the reward if the information leads to an arrest or conviction.

"Our goal is to encourage citizens to help law enforcement root out a brutal crime that often goes unreported and occurs in the shadows," Cooley said.

Cooley said he hopes the tips "will be a starting point for major criminal investigations" into crimes like drug dealing and weapons possession.

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