Dog fighting must end now.
More than a century and a half ago, dog fighting became illegal in the UK. But the government has done little to bring people who force dogs into this bloody activity to justice.
Back in June, Channel 4 aired a dog fighting documentary, “Cutting Edge: Going to the Dogs,” that included a real-life dog fight between two pit bull terriers. Afterward, Ofcom, the media regulator, received over 1,400 complaints about animal cruelty and is launching an investigation. No wonder: It is appalling that a “hidden world of dog fighting” not only exists but is thriving.
American pit bulls and other breeds are being trained to be “killing machines”; some are given steroids to boost their strength. Animal welfare experts report an alarming trend of cats, wildlife (badgers, foxes) and less powerful breeds of dogs (some pets who have been kidnapped) being used to “bait” novice fighting dogs. Some people are making small fortunes from betting on dog fights.
Under Section 8 of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, it is unlawful to cause a dog fight, to be involved in the organisation of a dog fight or to make or accept a bet on a fight, as well as to keep or train an animal for use in a dog fight. The maximum penalty for such offenses is 6 months imprisonment and/or a £5,000 fine.
We need to make the laws stronger. Those convicted of organising dog fights should face automatic and lengthier prison sentences and a lifelong ban on keeping animals.