Dog-Fighting, Banned Dog Breeds On The Rise In U.K.

| by Phyllis M Daugherty
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The RSPCA announced in February that organized dog-fighting and cockfighting reports in the U.K. have gone up by a third in the past five years nationwide, reports the Yorkshire Standard.

In 2014, calls reporting animal fights in Wales numbered 33, compared to 21 four years earlier – an increase of 57%, reports.


A report titled "Status Dogs, Young People and Criminalisation: Towards a Preventative Strategy," submitted to the RSPCA by Cardiff University researchers, warned of evidence showing a “dramatic increase in individuals owning and using dogs in harmful or criminal behaviour in the UK” in recent years. reports a Dogs Trust survey showed many of the 118,932 strays picked up across the U.K. in 2012 were breeds generally with aggressive propensities, including Bull Terriers, Rottweilers and Akitas.

The report showed dog wardens in the city had 111 complaints of dangerous or out of control dogs – one every three days – in 2012/13, followed by 81 in the first six months of 2013/14.

Witnesses told committee members that incidents of dangerous dogs in the city were “under-reported.”


Animal fighting and baiting were banned in the UK for 180 years with the introduction of the Cruelty to Animals Act in 1835.

They are  now covered by Section Eight of the Animal Welfare Act, which makes it illegal to stage or train animals for the fighting.

On January 29, 2014, the BBC reported that, “South Wales Police say they are receiving a growing number of calls about banned [pit bulls and other fighting breeds] dogs amid concern that it may be linked to illegal dog fighting."

South Wales Police report that the number of banned breeds they have seized has risen from only five in 2008 to 122 last year.

There are four banned dogs under section one of the Dangerous Dogs Act.


In an April 20, 2007, article, “Inside Dog-fighting Britain,” Dave Masters told the Sun about the dramatic increase already beginning in illegal dog fights, “…where animals are forced to rip each other to bits for the enjoyment of sick yobs.”

Masters continued, “…animal cruelty experts fear the popularity of the barbaric ‘sport' could soon be as bad as in its grisly 1980s heyday, where fights were taking place EVERY weekend.”

In 1970, Chief Inspector Mike Butcher of the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit agreed: "If the present trend continues, we'll be back at the level of the 1980s. The number of calls we're getting about dog-fighting is going up and we're making more arrests.”

Those who want to report animal cruelty in the U.K. can contact the RSPCA's cruelty advice line at 0300 1234 999.

Sources: Yorkshire Standard, Wales Online, BBC, UK Gov, The Sun / Photo: Provided, Thomas MacMahon/Flickr