Fighting gangs behind bloodiest ‘sport’ of all

HEARTIEST congratulations are due to the gardaí and ISPCA officers who broke up a dog fight recently.

I hope the resulting media coverage will help to foster a greater awareness of the cruelty involved.

Dog fighting is the most secretive and barbaric of all field sports.

Contests are organised in remote areas in converted barns or sheds, away from the public eye.

The dogs used are specially bred and conditioned to fight.

At each fighting session, the animals are paired off against each other in a small pit or arena, enclosed by plywood or galvanised walls.

A fight can last more than two hours and the contest ends only when one of the combatants is no longer able or willing to continue.

The competing dogs suffer horrific often fatal injuries. Dogs such as American pit bulls have powerful jaws that inflict severe bruising, deep puncture wounds and broken bones.

Many fighting dogs die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion or infection after contests.

Unfortunately, dogs are not the only victims of this brutality.

The fighting gangs use live cats to train or 'blood' the dogs. These can be stray cats, stolen family pets or kittens obtained through 'free to good home' newspaper ads.

The terrified creatures have their legs tied together before being tossed to the dogs. Cats are also dangled from pieces of string to tease the fighting dogs. The dogs are encouraged to savage them and slowly hack them to pieces.

Like other forms of cruelty to animals, this nightmarish practice thrives on silence.

Dog fighters depend on friends and relatives who know of their activities to keep their mouths shut, out of loyalty or fear.

I appeal especially to those who know when and where dogfights take place to contact their local SPCA or the gardaí immediately.

John Fitzgerald,

Campaign for the Abolition of Cruel Sports,

Lower Coyne Street,

Callan,

Co Kilkenny.

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