Dog­fights just a myth?

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHITTAKER

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.

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