Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SICKENING; Charity Reveals Extent of Dog Fighting

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

SICKENING; Charity Reveals Extent of Dog Fighting

Article excerpt

Byline: IAN McNEAL

A SICKENING trend of back-street dog fighting is leading to animals suffering serious injuries, it has been warned. Youngsters competing to see who owns the toughest dog on Teesside streets is "far too common", animal charity the RSPCA has said.

The warning comes after a bull-terrier dog was discovered last month in Eastcroft Road, Grangetown, suffering severe wounds after an apparent fight.

RSPCA inspector Nick Jones said the problem of dog fighting was particularly severe in areas such as Grangetown and South Bank.

He said: "On the one hand, there is the organised dog-fighting, which has features such as a venue and betting. However, what also seems to be happening is that there are fights arranged on a more ad hoc basis.

"This means you have two lads who meet in a back alley and set the dogs against each other to see what the result will be.

"It makes it difficult for us as these fights are short-notice and largely unplanned, so we rely on the public to give us as much information as possible so we can act."

Mr Jones, who covers the eastern area of Teesside, said as many as 12 incidents of dog fighting have been uncovered in a year on his patch.

Explaining the possible motivation of those involved, he said: "On an organised level, some people consider it a sport, as barbaric as it is, while there is also the financial aspect.

And in organised dog fights, there are often national, or even international links.

"When it is lads getting together it is more of a macho thing. The problem is that once these dogs have been injured, they can't take them to a vet, as a vet will report them.

"I suspect that is what has happened in this latest case, where the dog has simply been turfed out because of the extent of the injuries inflicted on it."

Alongside the back street fights, there is also the issue of Teesside's links to wider organised dog fighting. …

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