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Robeson County Sheriff’s Office

Authorities in North Carolina are conducting an investigation after they discovered the remains of ten dead dogs in trash bags on the side of a road.

The disturbing find is sadly not the only instance of a growing trend across the country, and one likely due to the pandemic. The dogs, mostly of a pit bulls breed, were found earlier this month during a volunteer clean up event called “Operation Spring Cleaning, authorities in Robeson County said.

“Sadly and under current investigation was the discovery of 10 dogs (mostly but not all pit-bulls) wrapped in trash bags and thrown alongside a ditch bank,” Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins wrote in a Facebook post on March 20.

According to Wilkins, a vet in the county said the dogs didn’t appear to be involved in dog fighting and there were no obvious causes of death or injury.

Outside of this incident, North Carolina is the number one dog fighting state in the United States, according to the federal government task force against animal cruelty and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

“The biggest dog fighter in the world lives in your state,” a government informant told the Sun Journal in 2018. One of those fighters, Mt. Olive’s Harry Hargrove is a “legend” in the dog-fighting world, for instance, who has bred, trained and fought dogs for 40 years.

Officials believe people who’ve participated in a dog fighting operation have also been struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are likely dumping dogs used for bait or ones used for show at alarming levels.