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Horrific' ordeal of dogs forced to fight

PUBLISHED: 17:21 03 June 2009 | UPDATED: 11:27 12 August 2010

SHOCKING statistics have shown that dog fighting has risen in the capital. The RSPCA has warned that two-thirds of all reports of dog fighting they receive have involved youths carrying out the cruel sport in public places. The rise in impromptu public

SHOCKING statistics have shown that dog fighting has risen in the capital.

The RSPCA has warned that two-thirds of all reports of dog fighting they receive have involved youths carrying out the cruel sport in public places.

The rise in impromptu public scraps has seen 188 people contact the RSPCA last year compared with 132 in 2007.

In Bromley, there were three complaints of fights, one involving youths, and in Greenwich there were five complaints by worried residents. In Bexley, there were four reported dog fighting incidents involving youths compared to three the year before. One of the incidents involved a Rottweiler which was found emaciated, weighing just 19kg, in Bostall Woods, Abbey Wood, in April last year. The Rottweiler was rescued by the RSPCA after a dog walker found her.

The RSPCA has seen an increase in "status" dogs being dumped and abandoned in London, many of them suffering from horrific fight wounds.

David Grant, director of the RSPCA's Harmsworth Animal Hospital in north London, said: "My staff are treating more dogs than ever for fight wounds and injuries sustained as a result of them being kept as status symbols by young people who think having a dog makes them look tough. I've had to treat dogs with stab wounds, broken bones and even cigarette burns to their head. The torture some of these poor animals have suffered is simply horrific."

The Metropolitan Police seized 719 dogs between April 2007 and 2008 under the Dangerous Dogs Act compared to just 35 in the same period between 2002 and 2003.

Various branches of the RSPCA across London have been running free Staffie-type, dog neutering campaigns, with dozens of the dogs being neutered at no cost to their owners in a bid to reduce dog fighting.

The scheme is due to continue in the Croydon and Crystal Palace area next month with free neutering for male and female dogs.

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