Dog Fighting (July 2016)

This is a heinous crime that has been banned in this country for over 100 years. It is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and is punishable by up to six months' imprisonment or an unlimited fine, or both. I also support the ban on owning or selling some types of dogs bred for fighting. As the owner of two rather 'soppy' Labradors, I cannot understand how any person can derive amusement from watching such a barbaric spectacle.

The police have powers to investigate allegations of dog fighting and have the power to arrest anyone suspected of being involved in this barbaric practice. People can be charged with causing, taking part in, attending or publicising an animal fight, with receiving admission money or keeping equipment, premises or an animal to be used in a fight. This is a broad range of charges that are available to prosecutors, and naturally I would urge anyone with any relevant information to contact the police immediately.

The previous cap in the levels of fines that charges of animal abuse could attract was removed last year, but I can advise you that the Ministry of Justice is looking at whether there is a case for increasing the penalties. There is also a public consultation now open into sentencing guidelines for these crimes, which will close on 11 August. You can find more details on the website of the Sentencing Council, under Consultations, Magistrates' Court Sentencing Guidelines consultation.

July 2016