‘Puppy farms’ breeding wild dogs
02 July 2009
|PC George Thomson with two pitbulls which had to be destroyed after a raid on a council flat in Finsbury Park|
ILLEGAL “puppy farms” on Islington housing estates are breeding hundreds of banned danger dogs every year worth up to £8,000 a litter.
Two dangerous pit bull terriers alleged to have mauled another dog at their owner’s command were seized in a police raid on the Six Acres Estate in Finsbury Park on Friday.
Expert officers from the Metropolitan Police’s new Status Dogs Unit and the
K-9 Dog Support Unit (DSU) were armed with specialist nooses and fire extinguishers as they confronted the owner in his home at 7.30am.
The male and female pit bulls, aged just one year old, had been bought as puppies from an illegal breeder in Islington for £800 and £700 respectively.
PC Mick Holland, of the DSU, said: “It’s like another bit of ‘bling’. If the breeders put out eight or 10 pups every litter that’s a lot of money. They are puppy farms.”
Legally the police are powerless to intervene in dog on dog attacks, and Islington officers have told the Gazette they do not feel safe confronting owners of dangerous dogs being kept off a lead armed only with a truncheon.
PC Holland, an expert dog handler, said: “Dogs will fight. Even the smallest puppy has genetics which says ‘I want to be pack leader’. Legally we have to respect the fact they are animals. But to be a dog owner you have to take responsibility.
“In some respects the owner was glad to get rid of them today. They’re only a year old but they’ve got to an age where he can’t control them. People don’t realise what they’re like. They’re not pets – they’re bred for fighting. They need all their energies channelled into something which is why they get channelled into dog fighting.”
Both banned dogs – which were being kept in the same house as three young children – were destroyed after the raid.
“Dogs like this should never be kept with children, it’s disgusting,” said PC Holland. “Dogs see kids as puppies. If they don’t show enough respect something inside of them just switches. An adult couldn’t bring two dogs off a child.”
Sergeant Chris Walsh, head of Finsbury Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team, who organised the raid, said: “We’ve got a lot of these dogs in the area and they’re causing all sorts of larger problems. It will only take one or two more raids like this and the word will get out that we’re proactively looking to take more dangerous dogs.”
Council tenants are not allowed to keep more than one dog in their home without special permission – but Homes for Islington, which runs Islington Council’s housing estates, admits it barely enforces the ban. Sergeant Walsh added: “I’ll tell HfI what we’ve done today and I’ll be looking for more assistance on this from them. They can impose a ban on owning dogs but breeders are the people that need to be targeted.