Birmingham & Black Country

Public dog fights in Birmingham concerns city council

Dog-fighting in public open spaces in Birmingham is a major cause for concern, according to a council report on dangerous dogs.

The city council said there was a problem with tackling the issue because those responsible "disperse quickly once the police arrive".

An RSPCA spokesman said gangs often "settle scores by fighting their dogs".

The charity receives about 40 dog-fighting complaints each year, the report added.

It also noted that 258 "dangerously out of control" dogs were seized by police in the city between 2008 and 2011, with a further 27 prohibited breeds seized.

Dog fighting was banned in the UK in 1835. Those found guilty of being involved in such activity can be jailed and fined up to £20,000 under Section 8 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

According to figures from the RSPCA there were 204 calls made by the UK public about dog fighting in 2009. Over half of these were about street fights as opposed to organised fights.

'Glued back together'

Andy Robbins, from the RSPCA, said there had been a general upward trend in incidents with only 24 fighting reports across the country in 2004.

Mr Robbins said: "In recent years a new wave of less organised dog fighting has been seen, where people 'roll' their dogs in parks and fields, matching dogs on a more casual basis.

"Street fights often happen on the spur of the moment, not to fixed rules, when youths and gangs look to settle scores.

"The public are worried that if they report it word will get back.

"Those involved are not the nicest people with fingers in various criminal pies."

He added that fighting produced a number of tell-tale injuries to the face and chest, with puncture marks often evident around eyes, ears and the muzzle.

"Owners don't want vets to see the injuries so patch them up themselves. They glue them back together," Mr Robbins added.

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