Animal protection groups have launched a campaign against dog-fighting in Florida to put an end to a practice that they have called a "brutal and bloody" act against man's best friend.

Dalia Canes, the founder and director of the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation, told Efe on Thursday that the groups decided to take action after in Miami-Dade County dead dogs were found in deplorable condition, their bodies covered with scars caused by fights with other dogs.

"For the past six months pitbulls and other bull (dog) breeds have been turning up dead and in just one month about seven were found in Homestead. They threw them (on the street) decapitated, burned and with their bodies torn open," the activist said.

In the face of this situation, the MCABSL and the No Kill Nation organization concluded that the time had come to halt this crime, which is punishable under Florida law.

The campaign consists of raising people's awareness about the evils of dog-fighting.

"Where there is dog-fighting, there are always drugs and crime," Canes said.

Local politicians, law enforcement and county agencies have all joined the campaign, she said.

"They are investigating the areas where the fights are held. We have printed some 5,000 flyers to inform the community that it's a crime and we will also conduct a campaign on the Internet," Canes said.

"(T)his brutal 'sport' must be stopped. Innocent dogs are being abused, ripped apart and killed as a matter of course. Dog-fighting is not restricted to pitbull type dogs; dogs of all breeds (puppies included) are used as bait dogs for training, many of whom have been stolen from their owners," MCABSL and No Kill Nation say.

Miami-Dade police detective Alvaro Zabaleta told Efe on Thursday that dog-fighting is a serious crime and carries penalties that may include prison time.

At the same time, Zabaleta issued a call to the community to report suspected cases of dog-fighting.

"It is something cruel to animals, and so anyone who has seen that activity carried out, has heard anything or knows that it's occurring is urged to immediately contact the authorities anonymously. In that way, we can act immediately and investigate the case," Zabaleta said.