Beds, Herts & Bucks

Neil Forrest: Prison for man who kept illegal pit bulls

Kali, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Kali, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier type bitch, was found "cowering" in a garden covered in wounds and scars

A man who ran a fighting-dog training camp has been sentenced to 24 weeks in prison.

Neil Forrest, 43, from Aspenden, Hertfordshire, kept three banned pit bull terriers at his home and made money by entering them into dog fights.

Appearing at Stevenage Magistrates' Court, Forrest pleaded guilty to charges including causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

He was disqualified from keeping animals for life and fined £750.

He also admitted keeping or training a dog in connection with an animal fight and to owning three pit bull terrier-type dogs, outlawed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Forrest's actions came to light after another of his dogs, described by the RSPCA as a Staffordshire bull terrier-type bitch, went missing.

She was found, covered in wounds and injury scars, "cowering" in a garden by a member of the public.

Having obtained a warrant, police and RSPCA officials raided unemployed Forrest's home in May and found the pit bulls, along with a treadmill used to keep them fit and veterinary medication.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Kali had suffered multiple bite wounds to her muzzle, mouth, legs and eye

Prosecutor Mark Jones, appearing for the RSPCA, told the court about the "shocking" condition of the escaped dog, named Kali by staff, adding that she had suffered multiple bite wounds to its muzzle, mouth, legs and eye.

Defending, Harriet Gilchrist said that Forrest had kept animals all his life and had a "love and passion" for them.

Passing sentence, District Judge Derek French said: "These dogs quite clearly have been used for commercial gain. The injuries showed they had been fighting dogs."

He ordered that Kali should be re-homed, but said the three pit bulls must be destroyed.

"They clearly offer a risk to members of the public if they are allowed to exist." he said.

Image copyright RSPCA
Image caption Having been cared for by RSPCA staff, Kali is now waiting to be re-homed

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