ASBURY PARK — Animal officials this week rescued two dogs from a yard where they had been abandoned by their owners.

One of the dogs was tethered to a fence, suffering gruesome injuries including bite wounds the size of quarters and abscesses the size of golf balls, according to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Officials believe the dog — who they named Rosie — may have been used as a so-called bait dog in dog fighting.

The other dog in the yard was in good health, officials said.

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The Middlesex County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was hoping to raise $6,000 to treat Rosie. But by Saturday they had already raised more than $9,800. Contributions also will help other needy pets.

Authorities believe Rosie was used as a bait dog for fighting dogs. She will need surgery to repair the damage to her left eye. Officials hope they will be able to restore her eye and vision.

"Rosie needs an unconditional amount of loving care to be able to trust humans again."

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“Rosie is lucky to have been found when she was and is now in the best of hands, receiving constant care from our staff and feeling free of pain,” the MCSPCA said in a statement.

“At first assessment, we couldn’t even tell if Rosie still had a functioning eye as it was so swollen and oozing with blood and pus,” the agency said.

The agency was dispatched to the home by a neighbor who reported the abandoned dogs. The neighbor told officials that the owners had been evicted from the home.

Officials said bait dogs are usually restrained with their mouths taped shut to allow fighting dogs to practice their attacks.

It was not clear Saturday whether the previous owners had been identified or whether they would face any criminal charges or fines.

Dog fighting is being targeted by top law enforcement officials, not just animal cruelty police.

In June, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey announced the arrests of six state residents charged in connection with a dog-fighting ring that stretched from New Mexico to New Jersey.

Authorities say the dogs — usually pit bulls — were set up for matches to fight, attack and maul each other, often until one of both of the dogs died.

The evidence in the federal case included dog-fighting paraphernalia such as dog treadmills, ‘flirt’ poles used to build jaw strength and increase aggression, and animal pelts. Officials also confiscated surgical and medical equipment the suspects use to mend dogs themselves instead of seeking veterinary care.

“There is no place in New Jersey – or anywhere else, for that matter – for a vicious blood sport like dog fighting,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said at the time. “Not only is it unspeakably cruel to the animals that are raised to participate in dog fighting, but animals trained in this way can be extremely dangerous to the public.”

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Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-438-1015 or email sergio.bichao@townsquaremedia.com.