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Recent stories in The News about dog fights have again put the spotlight on a vicious activity – we can't call it a sport – that dates back centuries. It is hard to fathom how human beings can condone this cruel activity, but it needs to end. The only way that can happen is for the entire community to get incensed, fed up and involved.

As New staff reporter Jane Kwiatkowski wrote, signs of dog fighting are all around. These poor animals, not inherently vicious whether pit bull, boxer or other bully breed, are subjected to the worst kind of punishment at the hands of sadistic humans.

SPCA animal control officers have reported finding dead dogs dropped in Cheektowaga cemeteries, city sanitation workers have found dead dogs in garbage totes in isolated areas of the East Side, and, in a deeply disturbing case, a dog was found hanging last month in an East Side basement. A necropsy, according to officials of the SPCA Serving Erie County, proved that the poor animal was alive when it was hanged.

It has to stop.

The arrest of a now-suspended employee of the Buffalo Police Department accused of breeding or training dogs to fight has been central to the re-energizing of a task force to crack down on the practice.

This effort is not new and it involves not just dog fighting. There's bear baiting, even fish fighting, usually involving Japanese fighting fish. Last month, more than 5,000 fighting roosters were seized by the ASPCA, assisted by the state Attorney General's Office, in Queens, Kings and Ulster counties.

This ugly activity traces right back to money, yet the depraved people who run these rings are participating in abuse that has become increasingly intolerable in our society.

Ending dog fighting will take people who are willing to stand up.

Police have been frustrated by a morally bankrupt culture of dog fighters who perpetuate the practice. They will not change until they are arrested. But there are members of the community who know what is going on and oppose dog fighting, but remain silent. It is these caring people who must somehow muster the strength to take back their neighborhoods.

Dog fighting is an underground and movable activity. Law enforcement officials and animal advocacy groups need people to be as offended as they are in order to catch these criminals.

It is not the dog that is dangerous, rather the humans.