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      Dog used for fighting gives birth at shelter

      This pit bull gave birth at the Horry County Animal Care Center after being seized by police from a home in Conway.

      Four dogs that were seized in a suspected dog fighting operation in Conway quickly turned into more than a dozen dogs.

      Two of the pit bull-mix dogs were female and one of them delivered ten puppies earlier this week at the Horry County Animal Care Center, where the dogs were taken after their owner was arrested.

      The care center staff says the new mom is taking pretty good care of her little ones, which are now three days old.

      County officials say all four adult dogs are in fair shape, considering what they apparently went through, though the two males have scars on their heads and legs.

      A veterinarian checked out the dogs' physical condition Friday, and their temperament will be evaluated later.

      "You have to see how they are with adults, children, how they are with other dogs to know if they are adoptable," said Horry County public information director Lisa Bourcier.

      It appears the dogs did not have easy lives. Harnesses, log chains and a treadmill were found on the property.

      An animal cruelty expert from the Humane Society says those are all common pieces of equipment for dog fighting operations, as is the hide that was found hanging from a pulley.

      "The hide is something that will be put up above the dogs on a rope or a chain and so the dog can jump up and bite on to the hide and hold on to strengthen his grip with his mouth," said John Goodwin, Director of Animal Cruelty Policy for the Humane Society of the U.S.

      Goodwin says dogs trained to be successful fighters can still have a friendly disposition toward humans and be good candidates for adoption.

      He says dog fighting is more widespread than most people realize, but adds the state's sheriffs and other agencies do a good job enforcing the law.

      "South Carolina is not a good refuge for dog fighters."

      Earl Dion Busbee, 34, is charged in the case with harboring an animal for fighting, along with four charges of cocaine trafficking.

      An agent with the 15th Circuit Drug Enforcement Unit that made the arrest says he's only found dog fighting operations a couple of times on drug busts, though Goodwin says it's common for dog fighting and illegal drugs to go hand in hand.