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Jailed seven were linked to Ireland

SEVEN PEOPLE, including one woman linked to a major Northern Ireland dog-fighting ring, were jailed in the north of England this, following a 2007 undercover investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme.

Gary Adamson, from north Yorkshire, was jailed for 23 weeks by Lincoln Magistrates Court after he pleaded guilty to six charges, along with Owen Batey from Middlesbrough. Both men were banned from keeping animals for life.

Claire Parker was jailed for 18 weeks for holding dog-fights at her home in Lincolnshire after magistrates refused to believe she had not known what was going on.

Another member of the ring, Kenneth King, received head injuries after a fight broke out inside the court building. Police had to use a stun-gun to overpower Christopher Burgess, who was later given 160 hours of community service for owning a banned dog.

The dogs, mostly pit-bulls, were kept by the convicted and were trained on treadmills and make-shift swimming pools, before being savagely hurt or killed in fights. It was described by the RSPCA as “horrific”.

The dogs were sent to Britain by a Northern Ireland-based gang, called the Farmers Boys, who imported the animals from the Republic. Pit bulls and other dangerous breeds are illegal in the UK since 1991 but not in the Republic. The trade was revealed by undercover reporter Stephen Ibinson who infiltrated the Farmers Boys and their links with dog-fighting gangs throughout Britain. He has since died of a heart attack in Afghanistan.

Secretly recorded videos made by Ibinson at Parker’s home in Yexby, north Yorkshire, showed men betting £500 on dog fights in a blood-stained fighting pit.

After the case, RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs, said: ‘Dog fighting is a barbaric and cruel so- called sport which belongs in the Dark Ages and horrific suffering is caused to the dogs involved.’
When serving as first minister, Ian Paisley raised the lack of an Irish ban on dangerous dog breeds with then taoiseach Bertie Ahern, warning that the Republic’s laws were being exploited.
American Pit Bull Terriers, English Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Ban Dogs, Bull Dogs, Bull Mastiffs, Dobermans, German Shepherds (Alsatians), Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Rottweilers, Japanese Akitas and Tosas can all be legally owned in the Republic. Regulations, however, require that some breeds must be kept on a leash and muzzled when in public.

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