Delv­ing into the world of dog fight­ing

Last week we re­ported on the hor­rific news that dogs in Bucks, es­pe­cially Che­sham, are be­ing snatched by dog fight­ing gangs to be used as bait. CAMILLA GOOD­MAN, JO-ANNE ROWNEY, LAURA MOWAT, LOR­CAN LOVETT and JACK ABELL speak to peo­ple in the dog com­mu­nity

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE -

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NANIMAL char­ity is urg­ing own­ers to be vig­i­lant after hear­ing of pets be­ing snatched in the area for dog fight­ing.

Man­ager of Chilterns Dog Res­cue So­ci­ety Sara Muncke said pet­nap­ping is a prob­lem in the area. She said the dogs are ei­ther used as bait or they are sold on.

Ms Muncke said: “It’s a prob­lem in the area, dogs are be­ing stolen for dog fight­ing.

“We’ve heard in­ci­dents of leads be­ing snatched from chil­dren’s hands, dogs go­ing be­hind bushes and not com­ing back and dogs be­ing stolen from gar­dens and out­side shops and schools.

“It’s hor­ri­ble but the re­al­ity is peo­ple need to be so vig­i­lant.

“We’ve heard of sev­eral dogs go­ing miss­ing from the same road, but the neigh­bours don’t talk so they don’t re­alise.

“It’s a re­ally big business and a big money-mak­ing op­por­tu­nity. Peo­ple don’t think it hap­pens here but it re­ally truly does.

“It can hap­pen to any­one at any time, so the more vig­i­lant peo­ple are the bet­ter.”

Ms Muncke said some of the dogs most at risk of be­ing snatched by the crim­i­nals are small breeds.

She added: “If it’s in the gar­den then [the crim­i­nals] just reach over, lift it up and it’s gone.”

Ms Muncke said she un­der­stands that gangs are com­ing to this area to steal dogs and train for big­ger fights in oth­ers parts of the coun­try.

“They’ll pick up any­thing for train­ing,” Ms Muncke said. “They also take cats. It’s a hor­ri­ble thing to do, ab­so­lutely hor­ri­ble.”

When a pet is stolen for bait it is of­ten pre­sented to a fight­ing dog which has been ‘ramped-up.’ The fight­ing dog then at­tacks the pet to help give it a ‘blood lust.’

Ms Muncke ex­plained: “The other dog is then hurled in and it is torn apart. The fight­ing dog tears it down to the bone. Pet dogs rarely sur­vive that sort of at­tack, very few come out of it and those who do are in­cred­i­bly trau­ma­tised by it.”

Ms Muncke said the fu­ture is not good for any for­mer fight­ing dogs ei­ther due to many be­ing il­le­gal breeds such as a pit bull ter­rier or Ja­panese tosa, or look­ing like or hav­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics of those breeds.

Res­cue cen­tres have to follow the guide­lines set-out in the Dan­ger­ous Dogs Act 1991.

Ms Muncke added: “The law states you can’t sell them, give them away and you're not al­lowed to re-home them. Any dog trained for fight­ing is un­likely to have a fu­ture.”

Ms Muncke added dog fight­ing and steal­ing pets for bait up­sets her and her col­leagues.

“It makes us very angry,” she said. “Be­cause the dogs suf­fer and the peo­ple who own the dogs suf­fer. You hear some dread­ful sto­ries.”

Ms Muncke is also warn­ing read­ers about some re­ports they have had about peo­ple pos­ing to be of­fer­ing homes to dogs on Chilterns Dog Res­cue Cen­tre’s be­half.

The scam sees peo­ple cold call pet own­ers and then col­lect the dog.

Ms Muncke said: “We’d never do that. Peo­ple have to bring their dog to us and there’s a big process to go through to re-home the dog to make sure they’re happy.”

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