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RSPCA figures show latest dog fighting statistics for Kent

Kent is among the country's worst areas for dog fighting with hundreds of cases reported over a four-year period.

Despite it being illegal since 1835, the RSPCA says growing numbers of dogs are being forced into the "sickening bloodsport".

The latest figures show there have been 230 cases in Kent, putting the county in the top seven dog fighting hotspots in England and Wales.

Warning: Graphic image below

Hundreds of incidents of dog fighting have been recorded in Kent. Picture: RSPCA
Hundreds of incidents of dog fighting have been recorded in Kent. Picture: RSPCA

London was the worst area with 653 incidents, followed by the West Midlands with 456, Greater Manchester with 380, West Yorkshire with 380 and South Yorkshire with 279.

Essex was just above Kent as the sixth worst county with 257 cases.

In total there have been almost 8,000 reports of dog fighting across England and Wales between 2015 and 2018.

Of these 230 were in Kent with 59 in 2015, 66 in 2016, 60 in 2017, and 45 last year.

The figures were released ahead of Dog Fighting Awareness Day, which is marked in America on April 8, and the RSPCA believes it should be extended to the UK where dog fighting remains "rife".

RSPCA dog fighting expert and special operations unit chief inspector, Mike Butcher, said: "Our figures show that in the past four years the RSPCA has received 7,915 reports of dog fighting incidents.

"While it's promising to see that these figures are dropping year on year, it's still staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years and a bloody pastime which most people would consider consigned to history is still so rife."

The RSPCA says many of the animals used by dog fighters are never found and those rescued are often found to be banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act and cannot legally be rehomed.

The disturbing aftermath of an illegal dogfight
The disturbing aftermath of an illegal dogfight

"The dog fighting world is a dark and frightening place," said Mr Butcher.

"But it could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.

"We'd urge the public to be our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to us to investigate.

"Dog fighting is serious, organised animal cruelty and we would not want anyone to put themselves at risk with the sort of people who are involved in such a violent pastime."

  • If you're concerned about the welfare of an animal or suspect dog fighting may be taking place please call our 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.
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