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Dog fighting: The Scottish connection


GANGS OF organised criminals are staging regular dog fights across Scotland, especially in major cities such as Edinburgh and Glasgow, animal protection officers warned last week.

The stark warning came after two injured pit bull terriers were seized from a house in the Inch, Edinburgh in a joint operation by 14 Scottish SPCA and police officers.

The dogs, which are illegal in the UK, may have been used in dog fighting, which the Scottish SPCA has warned is more prevalent and prolific in Scotland than most people think, and that the recent seizures may be the tip of the iceberg with disused industrial units, warehouses, and farms on the outskirts of the Capital all thought to have been used as sites for fights.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said, ‘We've had a lot of calls from people who have claimed to have seen injured dogs that look like they have been used in fights and we've found evidence of dog fights being carried out.

‘Just last year, we found the remnants of a fight in an industrial unit just outside of Livingston. The people involved had broken into the premises at night.

‘We saw bloodstains that had been left on the floor, but we never found the people responsible. The organisers of these kind of dog fights are hardened criminals.’

Following Wednesday's raid, a report has been sent to the procurator fiscal regarding offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, and the animals are in the care of vets. It is unclear whether they will be put down.

Mr Flynn said it was difficult to estimate the number of fights that take place across the Lothians.
He said: ‘They are planned meticulously for months beforehand and, if there is any indication that someone has tipped off the police, they will call it off.

‘They are extra cautious, so its very difficult to catch these people in the act. The last dog fight we actually raided while it was taking place was in 1991 in Fife.

‘But we know that there have definitely been a number of incidents of dog fighting over the past few years in Edinburgh, East Lothian and West Lothian.’

He added: ‘It isn't just a couple of guys meeting in a bar and deciding to set their dogs on each other. There are thousands of pounds at stake in each fight.’

Lothian and Borders Police wildlife crime officer PC Charles Everitt, said: ‘Dog fighting is a cruel activity which should have died out long ago.’