On Tuesday, Christina Rees attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament held by animal welfare campaigners League Against Cruel Sports, highlighting the horrific reality of dog fighting.
She heard about Cupcake, a Staffordshire bull terrier, who has become the ‘poster dog’ for a campaign which is calling for tougher sentencing and a national register to tackle the scourge of dog fighting across the UK.
Before she was rescued, Cupcake was subjected to horrific abuse by her dog fighting owners. Used as bait to train other dogs to fight, her teeth were broken with pliers to remove her only defence. She had sustained multiple injuries and scars including a head trauma from being slammed against walls or punched, which may lead to her losing an eye. She was also overbred to provide puppies which would either be trained to fight or used as bait themselves.
A dog fight takes place every day somewhere in the UK. Dog fighting is not purely a matter of animal welfare. Evidence from the UK and abroad points to the activity being a ‘gateway’ crime to serious and organised offences, such as drug and gun crime. In the United States dog fighting is recognised as a Grade A felony by the FBI and the practice of tackling dog fighting to prevent other crimes is well established.
Christina Rees said:
“There are thousands of dog owners in my constituency and they will be shocked to hear how animals in the dog fighting world are abused.
“We are a nation of animal lovers, so we need to treat our pets with the respect they deserve. Further action is needed to tackle this sadistic bloodsport – including stiffer sentences as a deterrent to those who force dogs to fight one another.”
The event brought together celebrities, animal welfare groups, and MPs from across Party lines to condemn dog fighting and call on the Government to act.
Notes to editors:
- The League Against Cruel Sports has started a petition calling for the Government to more effectively tackle dog fighting, including increasing sentences for convicted dog fighters. The petition can be signed at league.org.uk/dogfighting
- The event was held to provide MPs with a briefing on the findings of the League’s ‘Project Bloodline’.
- Project Bloodline follows on from the League’s 2015 academic report, Betrayal of Trust: The Tragedy of Dog fighting. The first investigation under the new pilot scheme focused on the Bedfordshire urban areas of Luton, Bedford and Dunstable. Based on the methodology used by Police dealing with terrorism and criminal activity at a community level, the project involved both overt and covert operations.
- The four page briefing Dog Fighting and Serious Crime: The Facts and the Way Forward can be read and downloaded here. The full report is also available on request.