Illegal Dog FightsApr 21st, 2007
Inside dog-fighting Britain
By DAVE MASTERS
April 20, 2007
AN EVIL thug who converted the downstairs of his home into an illegal dog fighting venue was today jailed for four months after a major RSPCA investigation.
Vile Adio Clarke, 22, from Birmingham, pleaded guilty to four charges relating to illegal dogs.
The court heard that when police raided his home they found 11 pitbull terriers, all suffering injuries apparently caused by dog fights.
Here, The Sun lifts the lid on the savage underground dog-fighting culture which is soaring on Britain's backstreets.
THERE has been a dramatic increase in recent years in the number of illegal dog-fights where animals are forced to rip each other to bits for the enjoyment of sick yobs.
And animal cruelty experts fear the popularity of the barbaric 'sport' could soon be as bad as in its grisly 1980s heyday, where fights were taking place EVERY weekend.
Chief Inspector Mike Butcher of the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit told us: "If the present trend continues, we'll be back at the level of the 1980s.
"The number of calls we're getting about dog-fighting is going up and we're making more arrests.
"We need to put a stop to it, but I fear it may get worse before it gets better.
Heart-breaking ... dogs are left with shocking facial injuries
"Our main problem is educating the public that dog fighting is still going on in 2007.
"The perception is that it has gone - but it hasn't."
Brawls can last up to TWO hours as the dogs - mostly pitbulls - go head-to-head in 12ft-square pits, with devastating consequences.
Mike revealed how vicious thugs arrange fights as a way of showing their power and boosting their street cred.
"It isn't about money," he said, "It's about having the best dog.
"If your dog wins three fights, it becomes a Champion. Five, and it goes up to a Grand Champion - the ultimate award - and that's what they aim for.
"Owners put their dogs into a tough training regime for weeks before and get them down to an agreed fighting weight - just like a boxer.
"That includes treadmill work, diet, stamina, running around and steroids to get it completely lean with no fat."
Regime ... dogs are trained for fights
The RSPCA say dog fighting saw a resurgence in 2000 and numbers have continued to rise since.
They estimate that one big fight is happening every month with followers travelling from around the country to watch the vicious brawls, which are planned weeks in advance.
Mike said: "The dogs fight face-to-face so you get lots of jaws and teeth broken and bad cuts.
"They get hold of something and shake it and won't let go.
"Some dogs are left with broken legs and torn ears. Others are badly bruised.
"Fights only stop when the owner says so and throws in the towel.
"Dogs don't often die in the ring. If they do die, it's usually from shock in the days following a fight."
The evil thugs who take part in dog-fighting are often criminals who use the animals as a bizarre extension of themselves.
Britain, supposedly a nation of animal lovers, has had cruel animal sports for centuries. Bear-baiting was once common, and perfectly legal, in Britain until 1835. It was also banned throughout the Empire. Here's a picture of bear-baiting, probably in London, in 1796.
Fights are morbidly reported on in niche publications that use fake names and dates to avoid detection.
Catching dog-fighters red-handed has proved a huge problem for the Police and the RSPCA - with just 16 raids EVER busting them in action.
Most convictions relate to the possession of illegal dogs because it's so hard to prove they've been forced into fighting under the current laws.
The RSPCA are battling alongside the Police and Kennel Club to bring about a change to the out-dated Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991.
And they're also pleading for the help of Sun readers across the land - who have already backed our Stamp It Out animal cruelty campaign - to help them crack down on this cruel activity.
He added: "We're doing our best to stop it happening and need the public's help - they're our eyes and ears.
"If you see a gathering of people and believe a dog fight might be going on, you should ring the RSPCA or the Police.
"But don't under any circumstances try and interrupt yourself. This is the very extreme end of animal cruelty."