HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) – Dog fighting is an illegal activity law enforcement is trying to crack down on in the Piedmont Triad.

FOX8 was the first to report a Guilford County dog breeder was charged with a felony count for having a dog he allegedly intended to use for fighting.  

Law enforcement raided 51-year-old Toriano Cave’s property on Penny Road in Guilford County on Wednesday. 

“North Carolina has long been a hot spot for dog fighting activity,” said Adam Parascandola, vice president of the animal rescue team for the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International. “When these dogs are given a choice, they choose not to fight.”

Parascandola told FOX8 that since January, the organization has worked with law enforcement on six dog fighting raids in North Carolina to stop this type of illegal activity. It’s double the number from this time last year. 

“There have been some really large dog fighting busts that have come out of North Carolina,” he said. “These dogs have never lived in a home environment.” 

One of those busts was in Randolph County in 2018 and involved the arrest of seven people.

The state’s roadways make it easy to move dogs.  

“I think that whole corridor, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia,” Parascandola said. “It’s very prevalent in there, and there’s a lot of dog fighters that live in those states.” 

He said the rescue team normally finds the dogs in kennels on heavy chains with thick fabric collars and barrels for housing. That’s exactly what FOX8 cameras spotted during the investigation on Penny Road. Parascandola told FOX8 that the breed in this illegal activity is almost always American Pit Bull Terriers.

“They’re just used to living on these chains and only being taken off when they’re being conditioned or used for fighting,” he said. 

Thousands of dollars can change hands in a single fight.  

“Money is a big part of it,” Parascandola said. “Most of the time, the folks that are engaged in this activity professionally are also engaged in other illegal activities, whether that’s drugs or weapons.” 

He said the animals may suffer serious injuries fighting. Neighbors or strangers could save them from the torture.  

“I’ve taken complaints for three years about the dogs on this property,” said Donna Lawrence, the founder of Susie’s Hope. “We are their voice. They have no voice.”

Lawrence has kept an eye on the backyard, alerting authorities and taking the time to address her concerns with the dogs’ owner. 

“I hope these animals can be rehabilitated and be able to find a good home,” she said. “It’s just sad for the animals. The animals are the ones that suffer the worst in this whole situation.” 

Dog fighting cases can take years to investigate since they are often linked to other states and can be happening out of the country. 

“Where they live and have their kennel is often not where they’re doing the fighting,” Parascandola said. “They may be transporting them across multiple states to go to these big sort of fighting events.” 

If the dogs are moved to another state, a new investigation is launched.