Outlaw Breeding of Fight Dogs Demands MP

'Blinged up Staffs' the canine equivalent of 'happy slapping'

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Greg Hands MP for Hammersmith and Fulham is asking for new legislation to combat the growing scourge of organised dog fights in Hammersmith and across the UK. He says laws are needed to make the deliberate breeding of dogs for fighting a criminal offence.

Opening a Commons debate, he said dogs such as 'blinged up Staffs'' were also being used to intimidate people and to 'guard'' drug stashes. He related that the RSPCA had told him this was a rapidly growing phenomenon is growing very rapidly across the UK and that sometimes the fights are recorded using mobile phone cameras - like the canine equivalent of 'happy slapping'. He told the House, "The police will generally confiscate weapons, but steer clear of dogs. Yet these dogs are a form of weapon.'

The RSPCA was also calling for action against 'breeding factories' - often located in garages, warehouses and disused buildings. The MP told the Commons that in certain playgrounds in this constituency dogs “were trained to hang from horizontal bars of children’s swings”. Hands added that, as well as children’s safety being at risk, there was “actual and psychological harm being done to dogs”.

The MP acknowledged that last year's Animal Welfare Act contained provisions on dog fighting, but added: 'The new offences do not capture the breeding of dogs for fighting.'

He called for police and RSPCA officers to have inspection rights into properties where it is suspected that dogs are bred or trained for fights and he called for a new offence of encouraging aggressive or intimidating behaviour by a dog.

His call came as the area saw the latest in the series of offences relating to dogs in the area. A 17 year old youth was arrested outside the Pear Tree Pub on Margravine Road on 28th April after being spotted by a police officer with an illegal dog. The officer saw suspect in street with the dog. The youth admitted that he was one of 2 dog owners who the same officer dealt with a week or so before. On that occasion the officer seized the pit bull belonging to his friend. When asked the youth said his dog was an 'Irish Staffordshire', a breed not known to dog handler. The Police officer was convinced that the dog was too tall and had too big a head to be a pure staff and that it was a cross of a staff and a bigger dog.

Subsequently a dog handler arrived and very quickly confirmed the dog to be a ‘pit bull terrier type ' dog. It was seized & taken to Hammersmith Police station and placed in the kennels and the youth was arrested.

May 11, 2007