Officials in Houston, Texas working to stop dogfighting

Some disturbing video of dogfights in the Houston, Texas area has led authorities to try to find people who are heard and seen on tape.

The Harris County Sheriff's Department seized the video and now at least two people are in custody.

It is video so disturbing that investigators could barely stand to watch it.

Pitbull dogs brought together to fight until one of them dies. The other dog survives but is badly injured and bleeding.
"And a couple of times the dogs wanted to stop fighting and they wouldn't let them stop," said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Belinda Smith.

Smith says two people identified on the tape including a juvenile have been arrested.

21-year old Derrick Criswell has been charged with engaging in dog fighting.

Investigators say many of those involved live with their dogs in southwest Houston. They stage the violent dog fights nearby in a wooded field.

"What was particularly disturbing was these individuals are very young and I think a lot of their role models like Michael Vick, they emulate those individuals," said Smith

Sometimes dogs that survive the fights are often confiscated and end up here at the Harris County Animal Control.
"Our shelter population of pit bulls has exploded over the past five years," said Colleen Hedges with the Harris County Animal Control.

Hedges says the pitbull dogs have become popular for two reasons, either people want to make money staging dog fights while others just want them as pets, but they are not always the best choice.

"The animals are extremely powerful and very intelligent," said hedges.

Investigators say they are prosecuting more cases of dog fighting but it is must harder to change attitudes.
Beginning in September, a new Texas state law will take effect to crack down on dog fighting.