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
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.”