More than 100 illegal dog fights have been reported in Cambridgeshire in the past four years, it has been revealed.
The RSPCA said across the country there have been 8,000 fights recorded, putting animal’s lives on the line, with 115 recorded in the county during that time.
Staffie Kali was rescued as part of a dog fighting investigation after she was found cowering in a garden, in Hertfordshire, in March 2017. She was covered in scars, open wounds and bloody bite marks. RSPCA officers traced her owner - who was later convicted at court of animal welfare offences - and she was taken into care for treatment and rehabilitation.
Georgina Arnold and boyfriend Owen Gray, from Yaxley in Cambridgeshire, read about Kali’s story in the local newspaper and fell in love.
We love her so much, we couldn’t be without her now,” Georgina said. “I couldn’t believe it when I found out the life she’d had before. The whole experience for her must have been so frightening.
“She has scars and is missing teeth so she has been through a lot. But she is so kind, she is like a teddy bear, there’s not a bad bone in her body. I’m just glad that she’s safe now and she’ll never have to know fear or cruelty again.”
RSPCA dog fighting expert and Special Operations Unit (SOU) chief inspector Mike Butcher added: “It’s incredible that Kali has recovered from her awful ordeal and gone on to a loving new home where she’ll be safe and cared for. Sadly, the reality is that for many dogs, this will never happen. Dogs who win fights are prized and are often treated like Kings. But those who refuse to fight or lose are often abandoned or barbarically killed.
“The dog fighting world is a dark and frightening place. But it could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village.
Mr Butcher said: “Our figures show that in the past four years the RSPCA has received 7,915 reports of dog fighting incidents. “While it’s promising to see that these figures are dropping year on year, it’s still staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years and a bloody pastime which most people would consider consigned to history is still so rife.”
Dog fighting was outlawed in England in 1835 but still goes on today. The RSPCA - founded in 1824 - is the country’s leading organisation tackling dog fighting and, for the last four decades, the RSPCA’s SOU have been investigating reports, rescuing dogs and prosecuting perpetrators.
Sadly, many of the dogs used by dog fighters are never found and those who are rescued are often found to be banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act and cannot legally be rehomed. But there are some lucky ones, including Kali.
Mike said: “We’d urge the public to be our eyes and ears and report anything suspicious to us to investigate. If you’re concerned about the welfare of an animal or suspect dog fighting may be taking place please call our 24-hour cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.”