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Tom Garner, who lives outside of Raleigh, is a leading breeder. A 1985 dogfighting conviction, he says, was the result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In an e-mail response to the AP, Garner said he would not knowingly sell to someone who wanted to fight one of these “magic animals.” But dogs are out of his control once they leave his yard.

“I am aware that some dogs from my bloodline are fought,” he wrote. “This is analogous to criminals using Toyotas for getaway cars because of their reliability. Certainly Toyota doesn’t set out to build getaway cars, but nevertheless the criminal will often find a way to get the item that serves their purpose.”