Dog fight reports are on the rise in the UK. With little coverage and few convictions, many admit to knowing barely anything about the underground world of dog fights.
Here are ten facts about dog fighting which you may not have known:
1) Dog fighting has been banned for nearly 200 years
Dog fighting as a sport was officially banned in 1835, thanks to a Bill introduced by South Durham MP Joseph Pease who was a member of the RSPCA committee.
2) The first level of dog fights occurs in the streets
The lowest level of dog fighting is often spontaneous fights between just two dogs with minimal training or preparation.
3) The second level of dog fights tends to be gang-related
Higher on the ladder than the first level of dog fights, this level is often gang-focused with more training and rules involved and bets are placed.
4) The highest level of dog fighting is strictly professional
Dogs are specifically bred and trained to compete and win in a fight. Organisation is key, and high stakes are involved.
5) Rules from the 1800’s are still in place today
Rules such as the required size of a dog fighting pit are found to still be in use today – as pits are still being constructed to be 12 square feet by 2ft 6in.
6) Training can be ruthless from an early age
Fighting dogs are often ‘body slammed’ or ‘head slammed’ from puppy age in order to desensitise them in order to fight efficiently.
7) Dogs are often mutilated in order to fight
Dogs are often found with their ears cropped and tails docked in order to reduce their surface area and limit the risk of injury in a fight. These mutilations are usually done by the owners themselves using crude methods.
8) Expected life span of fighters is short
Many dogs are either killed in the fight, die due to their injuries later or are killed by their owners if they have not fought well. Most fighting dogs are dead by four years old.
9) In some countries, dogs fights aren’t only legal, they are highly popular
Japan in particular is prolific for dog fighting. Here, the winning dog is crowned ‘Yokozuna’ and even given ceremonial dress.
10) Celebrities are campaigning for tougher laws
Popular celebrities such as Ricky Gervais, Gemma Atkinson and John Bishop have all campaigned against dog fights and are urging anyone who witnesses or suspects a dog fight organisation to report it immediately.