The number of dangerous dogs that have been seized by police in the West Midlands has more than doubled in the past year, figures have revealed.
Officers seized 214 dangerous dogs between April 2009 and March 2010 compared to 106 the previous year. And police said the number of dogs seized so far this year already exceeds 250.
The figures represent dogs bred for fighting, including pit bulls and Japanese Tosas, but police dog experts say the animals have not been used for street fights.
The majority of the dogs are crossbreeds that have been been picked up after reports of them running wild on estates or attacking other dogs in parks.
RSPCA spokeswoman Claire Robinson said: "It's a huge concern but not a big surprise. There has been a general rise in the number of dangerous dogs since 2004.
"The problem is people are using them to breed illegally."
She said too many people who took on puppies later abandoned them because they were unable to look after them.
So many dangerous dogs have been seized so far this year that the force has already exceeded the budget set aside for it.
Some £46,000 was earmarked for the first financial quarter to deal with the animals, which have become a status symbol for gang members, but they have already spent twice that.
"It is likely the Seizure of Dangerous Dogs budget will overspend in 2010/11 as nearly half the budget has already been used,"a report to West Midlands Police Authority states. It said the region overspent by £100,000 last year.
The high number of dogs seized is also partly due to the success of the West Midlands Police dangerous dogs unit, the second largest team of its kind in the UK.