FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -

Broward County Animal Care and Adoption Division has partnered with Fort Lauderdale Police to help save a group of 11 female American Staffordshire Terrier/Lab-mix dogs that were used for baiting and breeding purposes as part of a suspected dog-fighting ring.

The malnourished and severely underweight dogs had been hidden away in cages or tethered by massive chains to trees in the backyard of a Lauderdale Manors home. 

The animals were recently found in very poor physical condition and living in deplorable conditions. Many were missing hair with signs of significant scarring from old fight injuries.

Scarred and skinny, with marks all over their thin bodies, the female dogs show evidence of being bait dogs used in dog fighting.

With names like Pincess, Sugar and Cinnamon, these loving Pit bulls are now safe and protected at Broward Animal Care.

But even their bellies show signs of abuse as they were used and over-used for breeding

"It looks like they were fighting somewhere else and these dogs were separated for the sole purpose of breeding and baiting," said Broward Animal Care Dir. Lisa Mendheim.

The man Fort Lauderdale police say is responsible for the deplorable conditions in the backyard where the dogs were found is 22-year-old Derek McNair. Smiling in his mugshot, he's charged with fighting or baiting animals.

The eleven female dogs were removed from his property. They were all cramped in cages or tied up with heavy chains. Neighbors in the area didn't have anything to say about McNair or his dogs. But it was a tipster who brought the abused animals to the attention of police.

Police are now looking for the male dogs.

"The best case scenario of this entire incident is that those animals are no longer in the care of Mr. McNair," said Fort Lauderdale Police spokeswoman Deanna Greenlaw.

No one really knows how long these dogs were kept in those deplorable conditions, but their disposition is amazing, considering.  And that's why they have been rescued and hopefully, they will all be rehabilitated.

Members of the public are being asked to call Fort Lauderdale Police at 954-828-5700 if they have any information about this incident, or other suspected local dog fighting rings.