FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Nearly a dozen dogs used for breeding and baiting purposes in a suspected dog fighting ring have been rescued by Ft. Lauderdale police and the county’s Animal Care and Adoption Division.

The 11 American Staffordshire Terrier/Lab-mix dogs, which were severely malnourished, had been hidden away in cages or tethered by massive chains to trees in the backyard of a Lauderdale Manors home at 1313 NW 11th Street.  Many were missing hair with signs of significant scarring from old fight injuries.

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“We only learned about these dogs as a result of a phone call we received from a concerned resident,” said Lisa Mendheim with Broward County Animal Care and Adoption. “Our immediate goal was to rescue the dogs and assess their behavior to determine if they were good candidates to be rehabilitated. So far, the dogs have responded very well and seem relieved to be out of harm’s way.”

To assist in the care and rehabilitation of the dogs, Animal Care has teamed up with the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation and representatives from No Kill Nation for the dogs’ on-going medical care and behavioral training.

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“This situation is a prime example of how good dogs can be abused at the hands of unscrupulous owners,” said Dahlia Canes, Founder/Director, Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation. “Apparently, not only were these female dogs used as bait for training other dogs to fight, but the evidence indicates they were also being used for breeding.”

Derek McNair, the resident of the home, was charged with the fighting or baiting of animals.

Since only females were found, Fort Lauderdale Police are now looking for the male dogs which they suspect were used for fighting.

“If we don’t have people come forward this person could get away with abusing these animals,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Det. Deanna Greenlaw.

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Anyone with information on where they may be is urged to call the Fort Lauderdale Police at (954) 828-5700.