BRIDGEPORT - A local animal rescue organization warned people in southwestern Connecticut Monday about kittens being painted and used as bait.

The Bridgeport Animal Rescue Crew, or BARC, says the animals are being colored with permanent marker so that people could bet on them in dog fights.

BARC says people bet on the color of the cat that will survive the longest in a ring with two dogs fighting.

Jocey Baum, of BARC, says when the weather gets warmer, dog-fighting rings are looking for all kinds of small animals that are being given up for adoption.

"Don't ever give your animal for free," she says. "You're asking for someone to use it as bait or to turn around and sell it to someone who will use it as bait."

BARC says it recently rescued two painted kittens.