Dog fighting on the rise as West Yorkshire named a 'hotspot' by the RSPCA
The animal charity recently launched its Cancel Out Cruelty Campaign, to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse, like dog fighting, and to raise awareness about how to stop cruelty to animals for good.
RSPCA dog fighting expert and Special Operations Unit (SOU) chief inspector Ian Muttitt said: "Sadly we're back seeing pre-pandemic levels of dog fighting incidents.
"An average of 19 incidents were being investigated every month in 2019 and that has risen to a shocking 31 a month so far this year.
"It's staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years, which most people would consider consigned to history, is still so rife."
Dog fighting was outlawed in England and Wales in 1835 but the recent surge has encouraged the RSPCA to appeal to the public to report any suspicous behaviour.
Figures from the research showed that in the past four years, the RSPCA has uncovered and dealt with 1,156 incidents of dog fighting in England and Wales, with the north of England named as the worst region for it – with 42% of the incidents occurring there.
Ian said: "The dog fighting world is a dark and secretive place.
"It could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.
"We've already dealt with 155 incidents this year, but we're only six months into the year, so we're concerned we will see this number steadily rise."
The RSPCA is urging the public to be their eyes and ears and to report anything suspicious to them.
Anyone who's concerned about the welfare of an animal or suspects dog fighting may be taking place should visit the RSPCA website to find out how to report cruelty.