With over 150 dog fighting complaints in Cheshire in the United Kingdom in the last four years alone, it is quite clear that the illegal dog fighting trade is alive and persisting. Across the UK, 2018 saw a record 1,583 complaints of dog fighting, according to statistics released by the RSPCA.
In 2015, there were 43 complaints, and a year later it rose to 45. In 2017 and 2018, that number dropped to 34 and 29 respectively. Individuals and groups continue to host events that pit innocent animals against each other in a bloody carnage, all in the name of making a quick buck.
David Barritt, of animal welfare organisation, Network for Animals (NFA), said that most dogs involved in these fights are discarded, never to be found again.
“For those dogs who are lucky enough to be rescued, most of them are never able to recover, be it mentally, physically or both. Most of these dogs are also found to be banned breeds so they are never able to be legally adopted by a loving home. This is part of the tragedy.”
Barritt estimated that 16,000 dogs are killed each year in organized dog fights.
“That number is only growing. This is not a sport, it is a sickness. It is not only isolated to the United Kingdom and the United States, but epidemic on a global scale. We need to stop dog fighting in its tracks, but we also need to tend to the welfare of all those poor dogs who have been rescued from such bloody servitude. They still deserve a shot at life.”
Mike Butcher, a dog fighting expert from the RSPCA and Special Operations Unity chief inspector told reporters that: “It’s staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years… is still so rife.”
The sad reality is that most fighting dogs never find peace, but there are some lucky ones. In March 2017, Kali the staffie was rescued during a dog fighting investigation in Hertfordshire. She was bleeding and full of scars, and found cowering in the bushes of a residential garden.
“It’s incredible that Kali has recovered from her awful ordeal and gone on to a loving new home where she’ll be safe and cared for,” said Butcher.
“Sadly, the reality is that for many dogs, this will never happen. 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.”
Butcher reiterated that the world of dog fighting is a “dark and frightening place”. He said that the next fight could be happening in an inner-city warehouse right next to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.