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'Barbaric' dog-fighting world still rife with 200 reports in region

PUBLISHED: 15:26 01 April 2019 | UPDATED: 15:53 01 April 2019

Staffie Kali was rescued as part of a dog fighting investigation after she was found cowering in a garden, in Hertfordshire, in March 2017. Picture: RSPCA

Staffie Kali was rescued as part of a dog fighting investigation after she was found cowering in a garden, in Hertfordshire, in March 2017. Picture: RSPCA

Archant

Almost 200 reports of dog fighting incidents have been reported in Norfolk and Suffolk in the past four years, new figures from the RSPCA reveal.

The charity has released the figures to raise awareness of the illegal practice, which it says is still rife in the UK.

In Norfolk 120 reports of dog fighting have been received by the RSPCA since 2015, and 75 in Suffolk.

RSPCA dog fighting expert and Special Operations Unit (SOU) chief inspector Mike Butcher said: “Our figures show that in the past four years the RSPCA has received 7,915 reports of dog fighting incidents.

“While it’s promising to see that these figures are dropping year on year, it’s still staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years and a bloody pastime which most people would consider consigned to history is still so rife.”

Dog fighting was outlawed in England in 1835 but still goes on today. The RSPCA - founded in 1824 - is the country’s leading organisation tackling dog fighting and, for the last four decades, the RSPCA’s SOU has been investigating reports, rescuing dogs and prosecuting perpetrators.

Chief Insp Butcher added: “Dogs who win fights are prized and are often treated like kings. But those who refuse to fight or lose are often abandoned or barbarically killed.

“The dog fighting world is a dark and frightening place. But it could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.

“We’d urge the public to be our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to us to investigate. If you’re concerned about the welfare of an animal or suspect dog fighting may be taking place please call our 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

“Dog fighting is serious, organised animal cruelty and we would not want anyone to put themselves at risk with the sort of people who are involved in such a violent pastime.”

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