Society

Cockfighting: Martyn Dashwood Held Cockfights, Allowed Children to Watch

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

A MAN who organized cockfights and allowed children to watch has been jailed for 18 weeks, police report on May 12.

“Martyn Dashwood, 32, took part in the banned blood sport in a misguided attempt to gain “status,” as he is obsessive and has mental health issues,” his attorney told Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court in Poole, England.

“Through your numerous actions you were instrumental in arranging or attempting to arrange fights, and you allowed young children to be present and involved, normalizing such behavior in their young minds…,” the magistrates opined in sentencing Dashwood.

The father-of-three was arrested after police confiscated his mobile phones in connection with another offense and found videos of the fights, which took place chiefly at his own properties in Poole between September 2011 and March 2013.

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Further videos, including footage of his prized fighting bird ‘JB’ were later found on his laptop.

The magistrates acknowledged that Dashwood had an “obsession” with cockfighting, but did not find it a justification or excuse.

“Young birds only two weeks old were subjected to this barbaric, illegal act,” they stated.

Dashwood, who lives on Oak Drive in Poole, admitted to the following:

--Two counts of causing unnecessary cruelty to a cock. The court heard that in one of the videos he could be heard describing how a bird’s eye was “almost out.”

--Six counts of causing an animal fight to take place in both Belben Road and Oak Drive, and

--Eight counts of being present at animal fights in Dorset between December 2011 and April 2013.

A number of young children watched the fights and took part in separating the birds.

DASHWOOD PORTRAYED AS “A SIMPLE MAN” BY ATTORNEY

In mitigation, James Moore said Dashwood was “manipulated to a certain extent” as he was “very easily persuaded” on account of his mental health issues, which include depression, anxiety and ADHD.

“He isn’t the architect of this, he is the simple man who was willing to look after these animals and provide a place where the fights took place,” Moore said.

“This was a primitive way for him to get some form of status.”

BANNED FOR LIFE FROM KEEPING BIRDS

Dashwood was also banned for life from keeping birds, according to the Daily Echo.

The case had seven hearings and was twice delayed after the defendant, who was jailed for 12 weeks at Christmas for knocking out a 15-year-old boy, demonstrated a lack of respect toward the bench.

‘PLEASED WITH SENTENCE,’ SAYS RSPCA

“We are pleased he got a custodial sentence. It sends a message that cockfighting will not be accepted.”

“It [cockfighting] is barbaric, and suffering isn’t limited to the fighting, as the birds are often not kept in ideal condition.”

“The ban on keeping birds will hopefully prevent anything like this from happening again.”

He said there will be further prosecutions pursued in connection with the case.

Source: Daily Echo