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MP calls for measures to combat dog fighting


Eric Martlew MP for Carlisle is calling for long-term measures to be introduced to combat dog fighting after the BBC’s Panorama screened last week revealed its shocking extent.

Mr Martlew welcomed the strengthened fighting offence in the Government’s Animal Welfare Act, which will ensure appropriate punishment for those who are caught organising or participating in a dog fight. But he is gravely concerned by the fact that dog fighting is increasing in the UK and by the existence of underground networks of people who breed, fight and train dogs and import them into the UK.

Mr Martlew, who chairs the Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare said: ‘There needs to be legislation that clearly outlaws the breeding of dogs for fighting. We also need to introduce measures that effectively prohibit the practice of importing potentially dangerous dogs.

Enforce

‘At the moment one of the main problems is being able to enforce the legislation. These gangs are able to bring pit bulls into the country just by entering them as different breeds on the paperwork. Animal Health Officers aren’t always able to identify the breed of dog.

‘We need to make sure that dangerous dogs legislation does not just rely on prohibiting certain types of breeds but also takes account of the purposes for which dogs are bred, imported and trained. I wrote to the DEFRA Minister earlier this year to raise some of these points with him and he said that DEFRA would discuss the matter with interested groups in order to find a way forward. We know how dangerous these dogs can be and we also know the horrific welfare implications of pitting two aggressive animals against each other. We must do all we can to combat this sickening practice.’