Dog fighting is much more prevalent in New Jersey than most would think, according to a leading animal official.

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Capt. Rick Yocum of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) said not all investigations and busts are publicized because one ring can lead to the discovery of another ring and another.

According to the NJSPCA website, over 20 dog fighting cases were investigated last year. In April of this year, more than a dozen starving pit bulls were rescued from a ring at a house in Paterson. Police also found steroids at the home, along with needles and electric collars.

Yocum noted there are a few levels of dog fighting in New Jersey, from a regular street brawl started by two young owners, to high-end operations in which people fly their dogs across the country to take on other innocent victims.

"A lot of the motivation - some of it is ego, but a lot of it is money," Yocum said. "Also drugs and weapons."

The internet has served as a solid resource for officials lately, as social sites and forums feature posts from people who may not realize they're being monitored. The NJSPCA site indicated, though, that hundreds of dog fights may go unnoticed and uninvestigated per year in New Jersey.

"Obviously, it's not a good life for a dog involved in dog fighting," added Yocum. "Oftentimes the losing dog will be killed. The problem really is that once you fight a dog, that is what the dog thinks its job is."