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Cleaning the 'Corridor of Cruelty'

Monday, January 26, 2009
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Ditches in a northeast Houston neighborhood have become cemeteries for dogs trained to fight. Their bodies, wrapped in garbage bags, are left on the side of the road.

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On Monday, Harris County leaders said they're ready to do something about it.

It's been dubbed the "Corridor of Cruelty," an area along the Eastex Freeway near Little York in northeast Houston that has become a dumping ground for dogs involved in dog fighting rings.

Jimmy Smith hasn't just heard the horror stories. He's seen them. Homeless, Smith lives not far from the abandoned field, a place he says dog fights happen often.

"They have them in a big old black garbage bags," said Smith. "Sometimes they have them in sheets."

Dog fighting in Harris County is a growing problem, evident by a raid last November. It was the largest in the nation. It led to the seizure of more than 150 dogs and more than 55 arrests.

"Associated with this evil enterprise, if you will, are illicit drugs, gambling," said Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos.

To put a dent in that criminal activity, Lykos has announced a new anti-dog fighting campaign. Beginning soon, billboards will go up across the area encouraging people to report dog fighting. Crime Stoppers is also featuring on its web site unsolved dog fighting cases, which they say take place in that so-called 'Corridor of Cruelty.'

"Where dogs are dumped, their bodies are left," said Katherine Cabaniss with Houston Crime Stoppers.

Officials hope by cracking down on dog fighting, it'll put dangerous criminals behind bars and end the legacy of hurt for the countless animals that have suffered by this deadly game.

"Dog is man's best friends and I love them," said Smith. "But it's sad the way they just come out here and dump them off like that. It's just not right."

If you have any information about these dog fighting cases, call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

Dog fighting is illegal in all 50 states, and a felony offense in almost every state. In Texas, anyone caught dog fighting faces 180 days to two years in jail. The Humane Society says despite the tough laws, there is an increase in unorganized dog street fights in urban areas.

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