Monday, September 24, 2007

Pit bull dogs discovered in raids

Two illegal pit bull dogs have been seized in an operation by police and animal welfare officers in Edinburgh.

About 14 police officers and Scottish SPCA officers raided two addresses in the Inch area of the city.

One dog was found at each address and examinations confirmed that they were pit bulls - a breed which has been branded illegal in the UK.

The dogs are currently being looked after by the SSPCA and a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

Officers said the report will contain information regarding offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The Lothian and Borders Police force said it was carrying out enquiries to find out if the animals had been involved in illegal dog fighting in the area.

Constable Charles Everitt, a police wildlife and environmental crime officer, urged anyone with information about dog fighting to contact the police.

He said: "Dog fighting is a cruel activity which should have died out long ago.

"Any measure that can be taken to stamp it out and to relieve the suffering caused to participating animals is most welcome."

Although not common, dog fighting still occurs throughout the central belt in Scotland.

Welfare officers said the location of these fights can vary and can include isolated woods, farm buildings, warehouses or emptied rooms within houses.

The participating dogs are agitated by their handlers and released to attack each other, inflicting injuries which are often life-threatening.

'Horrific injuries'

Ch Supt Mike Flynn of the SSPCA said: "The dogs used in these illegal fights are worth a lot of money to their owners and their training in aggression starts when they start to mature.

"All the dogs are victims of cruelty that starts long before their first fight and during their fighting 'career' they will inflict and suffer horrific injuries."

The dogs rarely receive professional veterinary treatment as a vet would recognise the wounds as being consistent with dog fighting.

The Scottish Executive recently passed the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, making it an offence for a person to take part in an animal fight, not to care for their animal's needs and to possess equipment for training dogs to fight.

The discovery of the dogs came as the BBC revealed that it had uncovered a network of criminal gangs who supply illegal pit bull terriers for fighting.

An undercover Panorama team found that the dogs were brought into the country using false documents.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/08/30 15:48:52 GMT

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