There’s much concern these days about unscrupulous people scouring social media for dogs that are ‘free to a good home’ to be used in dog fighting.

Dog fighting is an horrendous ‘sport’ where dogs are forced to fight, often to the death, for the enjoyment of on-lookers and so that illegal bets can be made on the outcome of the fight.

Offering unwanted pets ‘free to a good home’ on social media sites is considered acceptable by some who’re looking for an easy way to dispose of their unwanted pets. In their haste to get shot of them, they’re easily persuaded that there’s no need to go to a reputable animal rescue centre which runs proper checks on the people applying to adopt your pet. All they have to do is place an advert and wait for someone to respond.

But our investigations reveal that dog fighters look just like ordinary people. If one ends up on your doorstep offering to take your dog, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to spot them. And rest assured, they won’t tell you about their plans, they’ll talk about a happy fur-ever home and yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Time and time again we hear about dogs ending up in the hands of unscrupulous people who force them to fight for their viewing pleasure.

Those of us who genuinely care about protecting our pets flag the dangers of giving them away on sites such as Gumtree and Facebook: but people keep doing it and these sites claim they’re providing an important service - but surely they should be prioritising concerns about animal welfare?    

It’s great to see the Government taking steps to clamp down on puppy farming but if they are serious about ensuring dogs can only be responsibly rehomed they must also clamp down on social media sites.

If you ever need to rehome a pet, or if you’re looking for a new one, make sure you go to a rescue centre where the right checks are made.

And if you ever see an advert that describes an animal as good for ‘fighting’ or ‘bait’ report it immediately to our confidential Online Animal Crimewatch reporting service. Or call us in confidence on 01483 361 108 or email [email protected].

We’ll investigate what’s happening and take steps to ensure the animal doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.