It's time to take a stand against dog fighting

Dog fighting as a ‘sport’ was banned in 1835, as even then it was considered barbaric. But this horrific form of dog abuse continues.

Dog fighting remains a significant animal welfare issue in the UK.

It’s one of the most horrific forms of organised animal cruelty, not only for the violence the dogs endure during fights but because of the trauma they suffer throughout their lives. Training methods brutalise and fights inflict untold physical and mental suffering on ‘man’s best friend’.

We’re determined to expose and help prevent dog fighting in the UK and we’re asking the Government to take action to stamp it out.


Rewards for information

Do you have information about dog fighting in your area?

We’re looking for information about anyone involved in dogfighting, the locations of dog fights and information about any animal used or stolen for dog fighting. You could be eligible for a reward of up to £5,000.

Report any evidence of dog fighting in your area to our Animal Crimewatch team.


The three levels of dog fighting

Dog fighting operates at three levels, each of which will look different to an onlooker:

  • Level One - Street Rolls:  Dogs are forced into spontaneous fights in urban parks and housing estates without much planning, rules or specific training.
  • Level Two - Hobbyist: Often these people aspire to be professional dog fighters. Many are affiliations to gangs and have criminal convictions for other offences. These fights involve more ‘rules’ and formalised training regimes.
  • Level Three – Professional: Professional dog fighters are part of sophisticated dog fighting rings operating in the UK and worldwide with links to other serious crimes. Strict training regimes and rules apply and large sums of cash are wagered on the outcome of fights that last from 30 minutes to 5 hours.

Dogs forced into fighting suffer terrible injuries, both from the fights and at the hands of their vicious 'owners'. Most will ultimately be killed in the ring or die soon after from their injuries. Those who can no longer fight are often brutally dispatched.


Two American Staffordshire terriers fighting


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Scale and prevalence in the UK

Dog fighting operates deep underground. It’s difficult – and often dangerous – to find information about what’s going on and who’s involved. Our investigators work tirelessly to raise awareness and bring these people to justice. Often this means working in difficult and dangerous situations.

There are many indicators that show dog fighting continues to be a significant animal welfare issue in the UK. Figures from the RSPCA show a steady number of calls relating to dog fighting over the last 10 years. Other evidence of dogs being imported for fighting, the clandestine sale of dogs in dark alleys for large sums of money, the seeming need for dogs as protection, and the apparent growth in the number of stolen dogs also indicate it’s on the increase.

In 2015 we ran Project Bloodline, an investigation aimed at exposing the scale of dog fighting in the UK. Basing ourselves in area which we consider ‘average’ in terms of suspected dog fighting activity – urban areas within Bedfordshire – we set about trying to uncovering the truth.

Within just a short space of time we received 40 pieces of intelligence which gave us an insight into the dark world of dog fighting including:

  • Reports of dogs being trained for fighting by being ‘body slammed’ and ‘head slammed’ against a wall to toughen them up.
  • The bodies of dead dogs used for fighting dumped near farmland.
  • Prohibited breeds being bred to supply the dog fighting and status dogs market.
  • A significant clandestine market in the trade of potential fighting dogs – our investigators were offered puppies for £1,000 each by a masked man during the operation.
  • We also were introduced to Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Cupcake, who had been used for fighting, her teeth ground down probably by trying to bite through the bars of her cage or chain.

We’ve now widened our investigations to key locations around the UK. We work with the public, rescue centres, veterinarians, community groups, law enforcement and politicians to raise awareness, to help communities tackle it and of course to support the animals that have been rescued from this living hell.

Watch Cupcake's Story - A Dog Fighting Survivor. A moving but uplifting story of a dog that survived.


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Dog fighting and other serious crime

Horrendous as dog fighting is, it’s not purely a matter of animal welfare. Evidence from the UK and internationally points to dog fighting being a ‘gateway’ crime to serious and organised offences such as drug dealing and violence. Links between animal abuse and human abuse are also clear. For this reason, in the United States, dog fighting is recognised by the FBI as a Grade A felony offence and it’s acknowledged as a way of identifying and tackling other criminal activity too.

Chained scared pitbull full of scars caused by dog fights


An action plan for the UK

We’ve set out what needs to be done in our National Dog Fighting Action Plan. The plan comprises many elements based around the three areas of Prevention, Understanding and Prosecution (P.U.P).

Key recommendations include:

  • The formation of a National Dog Fighting Task Force
  • Dog fighting to be recorded as a specific offence separate to animal fighting in order to enable the scale of the problem to be more accurately assessed
  • Increased penalties of up to five years for the worst dog fighting offenders
  • The Dangerous Dogs Act should be reviewed as a matter of urgency
  • The implementation of a national register for individuals banned from keeping dogs to prevent those already convicted of animal cruelty from being able to re-offend.


Celebrities sign open letter calling to end dog fighting

We are being supported in our fight to end dog fighting in the UK by a growing list of politicians and celebrities. Here’s a letter they signed, with the names of our celebrity supporters below:


Dog fighting was outlawed almost 200 years ago. Yet, shockingly, dog fighting continues to be a significant animal welfare issue in the UK.

This is a terrible betrayal of our most faithful and much loved companions. Dogs forced into fighting suffer terrible injuries, both from the fights and at the hands of their vicious owners. Those involved in this ‘sport’ are often involved in serious and even organised crime, and must be stopped.

Undercover work and detailed analysis by animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports has revealed the extent of the problem – and how to tackle it. We need sentences that fit the crime, and we need to reach out to people to educate them and prevent them from getting sucked into this cycle of violence and serious crime.

Dog fighting may sound like something that belongs in history books. But it will continue to be with us unless we act now to banish it to the past. We call on the public to help us by signing the League Against Cruel Sports petition here, raising this issue with their MP, and by contacting the League’s Animal Crimewatch on 01483 361108 if they witness or have evidence of dog fighting.

Yours faithfully,


Ricky Gervais
Graham Norton
Amanda Holden
Paul O’Grady
Nicky Campbell
Rachel Riley
Russell Tovey
Peter Egan
Tony Robinson
Bill Oddie
Gemma Atkinson
Dave Spikey
Chloe Meadows
Marc Abraham
Carol Royle
Tony Robinson
Bill Bailey
Alison Steadman
Ben Fogle 
Peter Wight 
John Bishop


Help us end dog fighting

  • Sign our petition for stronger penalties for dog fighting
  • Report any evidence you have of dog fighting in your area to our Animal Crimewatch team
  • Share this page on your social media


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