£5,000 Reward for Information About Dog Fighting in Birmingham
Birmingham residents could earn themselves up to £5,000 for passing on local information about dog fighting, a cruel activity where dogs are deliberately set upon each other, horrifically injured or even killed - all in the name of ‘sport’.
Project Bloodline has been developed by animal welfare charity, the League Against Cruel Sports, to end dog fighting in the UK. Initially piloted in Bedfordshire, the charity’s national dog fighting operation focuses on all aspects of the secretive activity including: the breeding and sale of fighting dogs, the training methods used and what happens during fights.
Dog fighting causes extreme suffering, resulting in torn flesh, blood loss, broken limbs, disembowelment and even death. Some organised dog fights are known to have lasted up to five hours. Individuals involved in dog fighting often ignore their dogs’ injuries, take the animal out of town to seek medical attention or use DIY kits sold over the internet to avoid alerting authorities.
The League’s operation has already unearthed disturbing intelligence relating to: prohibited dogs being bred and sold for substantial sums of money, brutal training techniques including body or head slamming and pet cats and dogs being stolen to be used as live training 'bait’.
League Against Cruel Sports CEO, Eduardo Gonçalves said: “Dog fighting is repugnant. It betrays the trust of the human-dog relationship and must be stopped. Despite it being banned almost 200 years ago, a report commissioned by the League last year found there could be one dog fight taking place every day in the UK.
“Dog fighting is a clandestine activity, which in the past more commonly took place in disused rural buildings and was managed at a professional level. Now we’re seeing a move to urban areas where dog fighting is becoming a way of establishing dominance, often related to gang activity.
“Individuals get involved in dog fighting for a number of different reasons, to boost their street cred, for entertainment or for profit. The current penalties if caught fail to act as a real deterrent, something we seek to change.
“We’re offering up to £5,000 for information about dog fighting in the Birmingham area which directly leads to a conviction, a chance for members of the local community to play their part in stamping out such a savage activity.”
Dog fighting is not purely a matter of animal welfare. Evidence from the UK and abroad also points to the activity being a ‘gateway’ crime to serious and organised offences, such as drug and gun crime.
As part of the operation the charity will also be working alongside West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson on the issue.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson said: “I have made tackling animal cruelty a feature of my upcoming Police and Crime Plan. I look forward to working with the police and the League Against Cruel Sports to raise awareness of and tackle this important issue. Dog fighting is truly barbaric and has no place in a civilised, decent society.”
Eduardo Gonçalves continued: “It is extremely encouraging that instrumental steps are already being taken to tackle both dog fighting and other forms of animal cruelty in Birmingham and surrounding areas. The League looks forward to working with Mr Jamieson and the Police to save animals at risk from this barbaric crime.”
Through exposing the cruel practices of dog fighting via intelligence and data collection, the League aims to persuade policy-makers into making dog fighting a specific recordable offence. The charity is also calling for: the roll out of a national task force, a national register of individuals banned from keeping dogs to help prevent further offences, a review of the Dangerous Dogs Act, improved enforcement and tougher penalties, including a minimum three year custodial sentence for convicted dog fighters to act as a more effective deterrent.
Anyone who has specific information about people who are involved in dog fights or where or when these cruel events take place, is urged to contact the Police and the League’s reporting service on 01483 361 108.
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- Project Bloodline follows on from the 2015 report commissioned by the League, Betrayal of Trust: The Tragedy of Dog fighting. The first investigation under the new pilot scheme focused on the Bedfordshire urban areas of Luton, Bedford and Dunstable. Based on the methodology used by Police dealing with terrorism and criminal activity at a community level, the project involved both overt and covert operations. Dog Fighting and Serious Crime: The Facts and the Way Forward
- The charity has identified three distinct levels of dog fighting. The ‘street roll’ level usually involving dogs being forced to fight each other in urban areas such as parks, the ‘hobbyist’ level often gang affiliated with gambling involved and the ‘professional’ and highly organised sophisticated dog fights with reputable bloodlines. More information in Betrayal of Trust: The Tragedy of Dog fighting