Dog fighters are breeding dogs to get around the Dangerous Dogs Act
Posted 29th March 2019
His name was Baddy.
Baddy was a Pitbull Terrier used by a dogfighting gang motivated by a love of violence and the chance to gamble large sums of money on the outcome of fights.
But while it’s no surprise to see a pitbull used for fighting, the gang were attempting to breed an ‘ultimate fighting machine’ using all sorts of breeds not normally connected with the barbaric ‘sport’.
Lincoln Magistrates Court heard that eight dogs rescued from the gang included an American Bulldog, a Bully Kutta and a Presa Canario as well as a Pitbull Terrier. This challenges the conventional view that only specific breeds are involved in dog fighting.
The court was shown videos of fights lasting 45 minutes which inflicted horrific injuries, as well as videos of the training techniques used to prepare the dogs for fights. It was the third dog fighting conviction for one of the defendants, which goes to show the current lenient approach to sentencing - currently a maximum of only six months - fails to offer a credible deterrent.
Introduced in 1991, the Dangerous Dogs Act brought in Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) which made it an offence to keep four types of dog traditionally bred for fighting – the Pitbull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Fila Brasileiro and Dogo Argentino - on the assumption these dogs pose a specific threat to the public.
However, evidence from our investigations show a much wider range of dogs are used, which has been backed up by this latest court case. We have found these dogs have specifically been selected to be non-aggressive toward people because they must be handled during fights, even when they have life threatening injuries.
These range from small mixed bull breeds and Staffordshire Bull Terriers to much larger breeds such as Mastiffs and Presa Canarios and of course dogs of no specific breed at all. At least when they’re rescued, these dogs can go on to be rehomed. But it seems especially cruel that those considered to be banned breeds are automatically euthanised, despite being bred to be non-aggressive to people, and spending a lifetime of abuse at the hands of dog fighters.
Just like people, all dogs have the potential to be dangerous, but it’s wrong to say specific breeds are inherently more dangerous than others. The key deciding factor is the conduct of the owner – how responsible (or not) they are in socialising and training their dog. In response to the mountain of evidence submitted to the EFRA Inquiry into BSL, EFRA called on the Government to review it and make immediate improvements to stop dogs that aren’t aggressive from being euthanised just because of how they look: something we wholeheartedly support.
Dog fighters aren’t fussy, and they don’t allow the law to stand in their way. This ineffective legislation should be repealed immediately.
No dog is born to fight.
And Baddy didn’t need to die.