Since the bust of one of Northern Ireland’s main gangs heavily entrenched in blood sports, dog fighting in Northern Ireland has been “cracked,” the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) announced yesterday.
David Wilson of the USPCA discussed the case of four men who were arrested and admitted cruelty offenses this week, after a raid found mobile phone footage of cats and a raccoon being torn to pieces by a pack of dogs strictly for sadistic pleasure derived from brutal violence.
Jeremiah Kirkwood, 43, and his two sons Christopher, 23, and Wayne, 20, from Island Street, pleaded guilty on Tuesday in a Belfast, Northern Ireland, court to causing “unnecessary suffering” to four pit bull-mix puppies only days old and keeping four dogs for fighting. The adult dogs had extensive scarring from prior injuries.
Mr. Wilson told the News Letter that generally the type of people involved in dog fighting could be described as criminal elements who also have “other things going on in their lives.”
“But dog fighting itself has decreased here since the BBC Panorama documentary in 2007,” he said.
The video (below) exposes a Tandragee dog fighting gang known as The Farmers Boys. (Tandragee is a village on the Cusher River in County Armagh, Northern Ireland.)
“It exposed the hard cases, betting on formal fights around the country. That was cracked in the documentary."
“This case [this week] was different. This was people pulling animals to bits for leisure,” he said, referring to the Kirkwood family.
PIT BULLS IN NOTHERN IRELAND
The law changed recently to allow people to keep Pit Bull terriers as pets, David Wilson said, but only if they apply to have them specially licensed.
“Then they must be microchipped, muzzled and on a leash in public,” he said.
Mr. Wilson admits that many owners may not have the special license, but said nonetheless there has been a noticeable shift in public attitudes.
“There are certainly less Pit Bulls about visually. People used to treat them as a tattoo on a leash, loading them up with lots of bling. But I just don’t see that sort of thing around now compared to a few years ago.”
(Note: The Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) is an animal charity the primary animal care group in Northern Ireland. A 2007 report states that they had 4 humane officers for enforcement for the entire Region.)