Dogfights just a myth?
CLAIMS that family pets are being stolen in large numbers to fuel dogfighting rings are erroneous and irresponsible, the SPCA says.
‘‘We’re an enforcement agency so we’re pretty up with what’s going on and we have no evidence at all to suggest it’s the case,’’ SPCA Auckland’s executive director Bob Kerridge says.
However, animal rights advocacy group Paw Justice believes dogs are being stolen in Auckland to be used as bait in fighting rings and as practice victims for training fighting dogs.
The organisation alleges spotters mark properties where there are dogs, often by spray-painting a symbol on the pavement or driveway, so others can come back and steal them later.
Many people have reported such marks at their homes on the Paw Justice Facebook page since an awareness campaign was launched in conjunction with singer Tiki Taane last month.
Paw Justice co-founder Craig Dunn believes the dogfighting industry is far bigger in New Zealand than people realise.
He says these days it can happen in moving trucks on the city’s motorways while audiences watch via webcams, as well as in the traditional spots like industrial areas.
He is hitting out at suggestions that it’s an urban myth.
‘‘Just look at what the people who are coming forward are saying.’’
Dognapping is rarely reported to police because many owners assume a missing dog has just run away, he says.
Mr Kerridge says dogfighting in New Zealand is fairly uncommon.
‘‘It’s not in the proportions that would have people running around the suburbs painting funny little symbols on things.
‘‘To suggest that is what has happened if someone loses their dog is irresponsible.’’
He says dogs are sometimes stolen to be sold simply to make money, but this rarely happens these days because dogs are microchipped.
Police are also not aware of a spate of dognappings.
Avondale acting senior sergeant Megan Dalton says she has not received any complaints about strange markings on properties or of stolen pets recently.
Go to aucklandcityharbournews. co.nz and click Latest Edition to see singer Tiki Taane’s dogfighting campaign music video.