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Dog Fighting Still Prevalent Sport in U.S.

Although dog fighting is illegal in the United States and a felony in 48 states, it is still occurring throughout the United States. An animal rights advocate and a dog-fighting documentarian discuss the savage sport.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Twenty-seven-year-old Michael Vick is a star player with the Atlanta Falcons. Fast on his feet and with a strong arm, Vick is the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL and a favorite with fans. He still is, although the spotlight on him changed this week.

    After months of investigation, including multiple searches of a property Vick owns in Surry, Virginia, authorities brought a federal indictment against him on Tuesday, charging that he was running a dogfighting operation. Dozens of pit-bull terriers, like this one, were found here.

    The grand jury indictment alleges that Vick and three associates were running a kennel for breeding and training dogs for fighting. The indictment alleges that Vick and the men hosted dogfights, crossed state lines to sponsor dogs in fights for prize money, and executed several dogs that did not perform well. If convicted, the four men involved could face six years in prison and $350,000 in fines.

    Michael Vick's indictment has brought the disturbing dogfighting subculture to national attention this week. Dogfighting is illegal throughout the United States and is a felony in 48 states.

    It is a brutal spectacle. Experts say a single bout can go on for hours. The victor is decided when one dog dies or is unable to continue fighting because of injury. As these photos suggest, dogs that do survive the battles often come away severely maimed and hurt.

    And we take a closer look now at the world of dogfighting with Wayne Pacelle, the president of the Humane Society of the United States, and Bobby Brown. He wrote and directed "Off the Chain," a 2005 documentary about dogfighting.

    Well, Mr. Pacelle, how big a phenomenon is this?

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