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Policeman ‘distressed’ at dog fight scene

A POLICE officer described the bloody aftermath of a dogfight at a Birmingham shop as ‘the most distressing’ scene he had witnessed in his career.

PC Paul Foster was giving evidence in the trial of several men facing various charges for dog fighting. PC Foster was the first officer at the scene in Alum Rock Road in February last year, Birmingham magistrates were told. Neighbours alerted police that a dogfight was in progress.
PC Foster told the court: ‘I could hear sounds of cheering and hollering. But then I heard the sound of the dogs howling and squealing. Every time I heard what sounded like an animal in distress, it was followed by a crescendo of cheering.’

He described how he called for back up, and officers used spades to prise open the back door of the property, where they discovered more than 20 men.

‘Then a black Pit Bull Terrier started walking around my feet,’ he added. ‘He was blood-stained and very unwell.’

Officers discovered a second dog stuffed in a cupboard. ‘He was really, really poorly,’ added PC Foster. ‘It's probably one of the most distressing things I've seen since I've been in the police service.’

RSPCA vets carried out emergency surgery but both dogs died.

Twenty-five men appeared in court last week on various charges relating to dog fighting.
Fourteen of the defendants were fined last week for attending a dog-fighting event.

The magistrate dealing with the case expressed his frustration at being able to hand out only relatively small fines to the men who attended the ‘sadistic’ event which claimed the lives of the two dogs.

District Judge Kal Qureshi, sitting at Birmingham Magistrates' Court, said his ‘hands were tied’ as he fined each of the defendants between £500 and £1,300 for being involved with the ‘inherently cruel’ illegal dog fight.

Ordering each of the 14 defendants to pay £80 in costs, Mr Qureshi said the maximum sentence available to him under the Protection of Animals Act was a fine of £2,500. ‘My hands are very much tied in terms of sentence,’ he said. ‘I personally cannot think of any offence that is more serious but that carries this limitation of its sentence.’

He said the prosecution had described the dogfight as pre-planned and well organised.
The magistrate told the 14 men: ‘The event was filmed by people present... a pit had been created and there was veterinary equipment and buckets and sponges to staunch the wounds of the animals that were involved.

‘Large sums of money were found so it was apparent that betting was taking place on the outcome of the fight.

‘The event itself is best described as a sadistic event - in my view it involved inflicting horrendous and unimaginable pain without any pity for the animals involved.’

The trial of 10 other defendants who deny a variety of charges in connection with the fight resumed earlier this week.

The defendants sentenced last week after pleading guilty to attending the fight included a snooker club owner, a taxi driver, an electrician, a car valeter, and a customer relations consultant.

The remaining defendants are: Intikab Hussain, aged 31, of Sladefield Road, Ward End, and Barkat Hussain, 42, of Unett Street, Smethwick, both deny possessing a pit bull terrier, making it fight another animal, attending a dog fight and causing the unnecessary suffering of a dog.
Mamoon Iftikar Ahmed, 24, and Umar Iftikar Ahmed, 26, both of Phipson Road, Sparkhill, deny attending a dog fight and keeping premises for fighting.

Zahir Ahmed, 31, of Bevington Road, Aston, and Sohail Hussain, 27, of Parkfield Road, Saltley, have pleaded not guilty to attending the fight and possessing a pit bull terrier.

Yasser Mohammed Khalid, 25, of Rotton Park Road, Edgbaston, Majid Mushtaq, 28, of Prospect Place, Preston, and Nabeel Mohammed Safdar, 25, of Ash Road, Saltley, also deny attending a dog fight. Imran Arif, 29, of Sandway Gardens, Washwood Heath, also denies attending a dog fight but was excused from last week’s hearing.

Two other men - Zahoor Hussain, aged 40, of Foley Road, Ward End, and Waqqas Mughal, 18, of Unett Street, Smethwick - have both pleaded guilty to possessing a pit bull terrier, making it fight other animals, attending a dog fight, and causing the unnecessary suffering of a dog. Both were due to be sentenced this week as we go to press.