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‘Hundreds’ involved in dog fighting

‘SEVERAL HUNDRED’ people in the UK are involved in illegal dog fighting, the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) has said.

The RSPCA said the popularity of dog fighting had been on the rise since 2000, following a lull in the 1990s. Betting large sums of money on fights could partly explain the increase.

Dog fighting expert chief inspector Mike Butcher of the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit, said the nature of dog fighting in the UK had changed in recent years.

‘The old-style dog fighters of the 1970s and 1980s would train their dogs as you would a prize-fighter, using treadmills and hanging tyres to prepare them for a fight,’ he said. ‘The fights would be in a regulation-sized pit with fixed rules and a referee, and would be stopped when one of the dogs had clearly won.

‘Owners would treat injuries to their own dogs with veterinary kits, and winning dogs would attain 'champion' status, which would give them greater value for breeding purposes.
‘Betting didn't really play a major part in these fights, it was more about the prestige.
‘Whichever way it's done, dog fighting is an abhorrent, cruel activity which is barbaric and sickening to any right-minded member of the public.’

Mr Butcher said the society had also noticed an increase in organised dog fighting.
‘The style of dog fighting we are now coming across seems to have evolved from urban street-fighting - young lads with their tough-looking terrier type dogs meeting others and 'rolling' them in parks.

‘This seems to be increasing across the country, and now seems to be becoming more organised, with pre-arranged fights indoors. But the emphasis appears to be more on betting and fighting the dogs to the death.’