• 'Very cruel': Police investigate photo of man walking puppy dragging brick

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    ROCKWELL, N.C. - A disturbing picture is circulating on social media, showing a man walking a little puppy that's dragging a brick. It appears to have been taken at a Rockwell gas station.

    "I think it should be looked into," resident Kim Mullis said. "I think it’s ridiculous, it’s very cruel, animals have feelings just like humans."

    "It looks like animal cruelty to me," said Monty Freeman. "Make a pit bull be a fighting dog is what it looks like."

    [ALSO READ: Deputies charge North Carolina man of starving puppy]

    When Channel 9 shared the photo with Rockwell police and Rowan County Animal Services, they told us others had sent it in too, and they are investigating.

    When we asked, Rockwell County Animal Services said what's shown in the picture is not specifically a sign of training for fighting. A rep said sometimes dragged weights are used to build muscle in dogs for breed show purposes or other reasons, from general exercise to potentially fighting.

    They told us they're working with Rockwell law enforcement to investigate.

    We also showed the picture to the Humane Society of Charlotte's Vice President of Clinic Services, Ellen Taylor. She was taken aback at first, too, but said it's not totally clear what's going on here. "It's perhaps misguided training. It might be someone trying to wear out their puppy. However, I think there are some better training methods," she said. 

    "I've certainly seen that where it's usually adult dogs that are hooked up to weights to help them build up their muscles and prepare them to fight, so I've seen that used maliciously," Taylor said.  "There’s also weight-pulling competitions, which some may consider that to be not the most humane way to interact with your pet, but that is something, as well."

    She, like everyone we spoke with, is happy it's being investigated.

    "I'm really happy to hear that animal control is involved and asking some good questions because I feel like some intervention needs to happen regardless of intent," Taylor said.

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