[from Islington Gazette]
Call to stamp out illegal dog fighting
22 August 2007
PET owners in Islington say illegal dog fighting is “rife” next door to a famous animal hospital – and are calling on the authorities to clamp down on the owners.
Ownership of Staffordshire bull terriers and other bull terrier-type dogs is on the increase. But many of the dogs are not being bought as pets – they are being used in illegal and cruel dog-fights.
Dog fighting is also related to a spate of thefts of pets in Islington and other parts of north London – including cats and rabbits as well as other dogs, which are used as “bait” in the vicious fights.
Chris Hawker, of Queen’s Drive, Finsbury Park, said: “There’s dog fighting going on right at the back of the RSPCA’s Harmsworth Hospital! It’s rife there. That’s why there are so many animals coming into the Harmsworth with injuries. They should be taking these animals away from their owners. They have the power to do that now.”
An RSPCA spokeswoman said: “Recent high profile investigations with the police and the seizure of such dogs have shown that there has been an increase in the ownership of dogs which are not legally kept.”
An Islington police spokeswoman said: “We are aware that dog fighting is a problem in certain parts of the borough including the Andover Estate and it is one of the main priorities for the Finsbury Park Safer Neighbourhood Team. Islington Police with the RSPCA will prosecute anyone taking part in organised dog fighting.