Pakistanis blamed for rise in banned bloodsport in Britain

May 5th, 2008 - 10:49 am ICT by admin  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, May 5 (IANS) Britain’s leading animal protection charity says Pakistani gangs are fuelling new cases of dog-fighting with dangerous pitbull terriers. The bloodsport was outlawed 172 years ago in Britain but a recent investigation by BBC Radio Asian Network revealed it is enjoying a revival.

Chief Inspector Ian Briggs, of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told the programme: “Over the last three or four years we’ve noticed a marked increase in the number of young Asian men, particularly young Asian Pakistani men, obtaining these dogs with the sole emphasis on training them to fight.

“Over the past three years of all the dog fighting cases I have dealt with, about 98 percent have been of Asian males, particularly of Pakistani origin,” he added.

After a series of raids across England in April, Chief Inspector Mike Butcher of the RSPCA said, “People may think that dog-fighting has gone away, but that’s simply not true.”

“There are still people who seem to gain pleasure from seeing two dogs ripping each other to pieces.”

Briggs said organised gangs train dogs in a special cage for weeks before the fight, making them run on treadmills and giving them steroids.

“The dog is then pitted against an opponent - usually for a wager or just to say their dog is the best dog in the area.”

A young Asian victim, Harvinder Hayer, told the programme - titled Mad Dogs and Asian Men - how he was attacked by gunmen and their dogs in a park in the city of Birmingham.

“…He released the dog and said ‘kill’. One of the dogs lock-jawed me on my leg, then another tried to bite my face and at the same time I was getting kicked in the face and hit with the shotgun, the air rifle.

“They started saying for the dog to go for my neck. But luckily the dog didn’t go for my neck. Had it gone for my neck I wouldn’t be here today.”

The report came after a man - not of Pakistani origin - was sentenced in the town of Walsall in April after pleading guilty to possessing three pit bull terriers and possessing equipment adapted for training animals to fight.

Walsall magistrates sentenced the man to 18 weeks in custody and banned him from keeping or being responsible for any animals for life.

Describing pitbull terriers as “highly dangerous dogs of an aggressive breed” the magistrates ordered the three dogs to be destroyed.

Also in April, six people were arrested and 14 pit bull-type dogs seized during a series of co-ordinated raids across three counties in the east of England.

Four addresses and a barn were raided by the police and RSPCA in relation to suspected organised dog-fighting.

Officers from the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit (SOU) and RSPCA uniformed inspectors were joined by more than 50 police officers from three forces in simultaneous raids at properties in Buntingford in Hertfordshire, Kexby and Grantham in Lincolnshire, and Ragnall in Nottinghamshire.

Officers discovered a number of pit bull-type dogs with scarring injuries that they said were “consistent with fighting.”

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