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Help stop dog fighting: An introduction to the work of the League Against Cruel Sports

We Brits like to think we’re a nation of animal lovers -- and on the whole we are -- but a small fraction of our society seems determined to ruin our reputation by inflicting extreme cruelty to dogs and other animals… all in the name of entertainment.

Dog fighting is an illegal sport, but unfortunately it is still alive and well in the UK today, with sadistic trainers still determined to hurt, maim and even kill the animals involved in order to make a quick buck. It’s exactly how it sounds: two dogs (or occasionally badgers, foxes or similar animals) are placed into a makeshift ring and forced to fight, often to the death, while spectators place bets on the outcome of the ghoulish display.

Given that it has been outlawed since 1835, the world of dog fighting is extremely secretive and very highly organised. The techniques used by trainers to promote aggression and a ‘fighting spirit’ in these animals are often cruel and physically painful. A puppy will be severely beaten by its owner to provoke violent behaviour, and will be trained to kill by being starved for days and then set upon a ‘bait’ cat or small dog. Worse still, the bait animal will often have its mouth or muzzle taped shut to prevent it from defending itself and injuring the fledgling fighter.

The dog will also be given ‘work-outs’ to improve its fitness, but these aren’t jolly runs around the park. Treadmills, heavy weights and even illegal drugs such as cocaine are all forced onto the dog to promote cardiovascular fitness, strong jaws and increased adrenaline. In order to keep the dogs on-edge and violent, they will often be neglected, kept in disgusting conditions and regularly beaten: fighting dogs aren’t exactly considered pets. Consequently, such dogs lead lonely, painful and confused lives, starved of affection and forced to fight until they can do so no more.

However, the animals do have a lifeline. The League Against Cruel Sports is a national charity that’s looking to raise awareness of this growing problem. The League run several services including the Fighting Dogs Crimewatch service, a telephone line that allows members of the public to report any information they have about dog fighting in their area, or to voice any suspicions they may have (01483 524 250). They also work with local authorities and MPs to highlight the problem and campaign for the law to be tougher on those who take part in these crimes. Dog fighting groups are also targeted, with dedicated League representatives working to change the attitudes of those involved, and hopefully stop them altogether.

The differences that the League can make to a dog’s life are astounding, but unfortunately they cannot do it without a team of supporters. There are a number of ways in which you can help with the League’s campaigns and hopefully create a better life for the nation’s dogs, including writing to your MP to ask for stricter law enforcement around this issue in your area.

If you have any suspicions that something of this nature may be occurring, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the League via the Fighting Dogs Helpline. And finally, any donations (big or small) that you can make to the campaign are always very much appreciated. The League currently receives no funding from the Government or National Lottery, and as a result need all the help they can get to run their campaigns and continue to protect dogs from cruel humans.

If you want more information on how to stop dog fighting visit the League’s website or call 01483 524 250 to make a pledge. You could save a dog’s life today.


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