COLUMBIA, S.C. — A declawed, defanged bear is chained to a stake as dogs run and jump at it, a training method called bear baying that for now is allowed in South Carolina, and only in South Carolina.

Armed with new undercover video of four such events, the Humane Society of the United States is pressuring state officials to explicitly outlaw the practice, which the organization says is effectively banned in every other state. Animal rights advocates say it’s cruel to the nearly defenseless bears and harms them psychologically.

Hunters say the exercise popular in the state’s hilly northwestern corner helps them train dogs on what to do when they encounter a bear during a hunt.

State law on the issue is murky. Statutes banning animal fighting have a specific exemption for dog training. And while South Carolina’s attorney general says animal cruelty laws prohibit bear baying, he hasn’t prosecuted any cases.

The videos, which were provided exclusively to The Associated Press, show an adult black bear standing on all fours, its back to a 4-foot high wooden fence, tethered to the ground by several feet of chain.

The bear rises onto its hind legs as three hounds sprint toward it, which is precisely the point: Hunters have a better chance of killing a bear swiftly with a shot to its exposed underbelly.

The unleashed dogs bark, show their teeth and swat at the bear, which lunges to the end of the chain, then backs up against the fence.

Moments later, handlers pull off the dogs. A new team of dogs soon takes on the 150-pound bear. Dozens more will follow.

“We really view this as a throwback to the days of the Roman Colosseum, when people filled an arena as spectators to watch animals pitted against each other,” said Michael Markarian, the Humane Society’s chief operating officer.