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Dog fighting still popular
Shock footage leads to prison sentence

SHOCKING video footage of organised dog fights filmed in Accrington, north Manchester has led to a father-to-be being jailed.

Liaquat Ali was handed a six month sentence in a landmark case in the battle to wipe out dog fighting. He was also banned from keeping animals for life after being convicted of keeping premises for the purpose of dog fighting and causing two protected animals, namely dogs, to fight.

Ali is the first person in the country to be prosecuted for these offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, in a prosecution brought by the RSPCA. He pleaded guilty at Hyndburn Magistrates Court to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to meet the needs of a pit bull-type dog called Enzo, which was found emaciated and locked in a wooden box with no water, light or ventilation in his back garden.

Not warned

Ali also pleaded guilty to possessing two further pit bull-type dogs under the Dangerous Dogs Act after police raids. His defence told magistrates how one of these dogs named Snoop was a family pet he had had from an eight-week-old puppy and that he had not known or suspected that he was an illegal dog. He also said that during the time Ali had kept the dog he had taken it for regular check-ups to a vet in Accrington and that he was never warned that Snoop was not the Staffordshire bull terrier crossed with a labrador he thought it was.

Ali also denied that a pit bull named Spike, found in his possession, belonged to him and that it was owned by a member of a dominant gang that had taken advantage of his good nature and slow mind and had taken over his flat for their dog fighting.

The court also heard that in June 2007, police and RSPCA officers executed a warrant at two addresses in Accrington and Blackburn. At one of the premises blood was found on the walls that DNA and forensic science proved had come from more than one dog. Other paraphernalia was also discovered as well as dog fighting footage showing Ali fighting a dog on his mobile phone.
Ali was given the maximum sentence possible by magistrates. He was sentenced to 90 days’ jail consecutively for each offence of keeping a premise for the purpose of dog fighting and causing an animal fight to take place; 90 days concurrently for causing unnecessary suffering and for owning a dog listed under the Dangerous Dogs Act without a certificate of exemption.

He told him 180 days was the maximum penalty the court could impose, adding: ‘If I could, I would have given you more.’

Mr Barrow also allowed the RSPCA to claim some of the prosecution costs from central funds as well as handing them ownership of the emanciated pit bull named Enzo.

A destruction order was also made for the two remaining pit bull dogs on the grounds they caused a danger to the public.