ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Neighbors have found everything from domesticated rabbits to litters of kittens in Indian Mounds Park over the years. But a disturbing discovery has one resident wondering if there is a dog fighting ring in the area.
When Tracie Lemke found a foxtail red lab running around Mounds Park last summer, Ginger, as she named her, was vastly underweight and half her ear was torn off.
But after finding another dog in similar shape near the same park Wednesday morning, Lemke wonders if something sinister is going on.
"My heart just broke. I wanted to go out there. I was thinking can I have another dog?" Lemke said.
Lemke says her son found a pitbull mix at the end of their driveway this morning, which is right across the street from the park.
The dog's left ear was all torn up and Lemke suspects it may have been a bait dog in a dog fighting ring that was dumped in the park.
"Being that there's two dogs in the same park. Same injuries. Its starting to look like there's a fighting ring for dogs. Not just abuse," Lemke said.
Keith Streff, an investigator for the Animal Humane Society, says bait dogs are basically sparring partners for fighting dogs to practice on.
Streff says they usually have tears and puncture wounds on other parts of their bodies than just their ears, but there's no way of knowing for sure where the pitbull's injuries came from.
"We have taken in dogs that I've determined were bait dogs or put against another dog. [We've] treated wounds for that on a variety of dogs, not only pit bulls, but any of the sporting breed dogs. It does happen. It is out there," Streff said.
Lemke already has two dogs and can't take in a third, but she hopes the pitbull finds the home it deserves.
"I want people to know if they see something, speak up. These dogs are being abused. If you see a dog, don't hesitate to call animal control. Their first intention is not to euthanize the dogs. Their first intention is to find the dog's home or owners or find new home for them," Lemke said.
A spokesperson for St Paul Animal Control says dog fighting cases are rare in the city. In fact, there hasn't been one in the last couple of years. If you suspect one, give Animal Control a call.
In the meantime, the Animal Humane Society in St. Paul is treating the pitbull for its injuries. It will eventually be put up for adoption.