Police professionals called on to help end dog fighting

The launch of new advice on how to recognise the signs of dog fighting will help police professionals identify and address the cruelty of the barbaric sport.

Animal welfare charity the League Against Cruel Sports has launched its online and downloadable ‘Advice for Law Enforcement’. The new resource describes how dog fighting operates, the warning signs to look out for and the powers police have to act if they suspect dog fighting is taking place.

Suzanne Heaney, Dog Fighting Programme Manager for the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Law enforcement staff are on the front-line when it comes to recognising the signs that dog fighting might be taking place. It’s key for everyone to understand the powers at their disposal, how dog fighting operates and how to spot the signs so that they can act.”

From street level fighters who force their dogs to spontaneously fight in urban parks, to professional dog fighters who often have links to other serious crime, this appalling practice is still happening – despite being banned since 1835.

Dog fighting is prevalent in urban and rural areas across England and Wales and involves many different types of dog, including terriers, mastiffs and bull breeds. The training methods used to prepare dogs to fight as well as the fights themselves, see the victims enduring immeasurable pain and distress.

“Don’t think for a minute that dog fighting isn’t going on in your area. It’s happening in cities, towns and rural areas right across the country, with many different types of dog being used. Dog fighting results in unbelievable suffering – with the dogs involved often dying as a result of their injuries.

“It can be a gateway crime with potential links to other types of violent crime and the links between human and animal abuse are well documented – so it’s about more than the obvious animal welfare concerns,” said Suzanne Heaney.

Grahic with several elements of dog fighting paraphernalia, including a fighting pit, DIY vet supplies and wooden break sticks.

The warning signs to look out for include frightened dogs with multiple scars to the head, neck, chest and forelimbs and mangled ears, evidence of books and online searches for dog fighting and the presence of dog-fighting kit such as weighing scales, treadmills, DIY veterinary supplies and makeshift fighting pits.

“If police stay alert for the signs of dog fighting, the criminals behind this sickening ‘sport’ will eventually have nowhere to hide. In every community animals and people deserve to be better protected from the threats that this crime poses. Dog fighting is an absolutely horrendous abuse of animals and we need police forces working with us to help stamp it out for good,” said Suzanne Heaney.

The advice sheet is available to view online or download here.

Anyone with information about dog fighting can confidentially contact the League Against Cruel Sports Animal Crimewatch service on 01483 361108.

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