West Midlands dubbed 'dog fighting hotspot' by RSPCA after hundreds of reports
The West Midlands has been dubbed a "dog fighting hotspot" after hundreds of reports were recorded by the RSPCA.
Since 2015 more than 450 reports of dog fighting have been made in the region, making it the second biggest hotspot in the country behind Great London.
The RSPCA has said it is "staggering" that the practice, which has been outlawed for 200 years, is still rife in the region.
A total of 456 incidents in the West Midlands were recorded by the charity, but the practice is dropping with 108 reports in 2017 and 98 last year.
Nationally, almost 8,000 incidents have been reported across England and Wales.
RSPCA dog fighting expert Mike 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.”
The practice was outlawed in England in 1835 – but still continues to this day.
The figures were released ahead of Dog Fighting Awareness day on Monday April 8, an American awareness day the RSPCA believes should be extended the UK.
Chief inspector Butcher added: “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.
“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.
“Dog fighting is serious, organised animal cruelty and we would not want anyone to put themselves at risk with the sort of people who are involved in such a violent pastime.”
Although the RSPCA works hard to rescue dogs from fighting, a lot of the time they are either never found or have to be put down because they are banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act.