Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A National Shame?

I recently had to ask a friend why I was seeing so many notices for dogs being stolen and for people out walking their dogs being approached by men posing as 'dog wardens' and trying to 'confiscate' pets. Josephus' wife informed me that it is because there is a rising sub-culture in the UK which engages in dog fighting and they need 'gun dogs' in particular to be sold on to 'sportsmen' as it takes a long time to train a gun-dog properly. Large breeds are stolen to be trained to kill in fights. Other dogs are used to 'bait' the fighting dog and, of course, wind up as its 'prey' victim. Sadly, this is not an isolated problem either. A little digging around on the web shows that there are a lot of dogs 'vanishing' in Britain, but the police don't seem to be interested and the RSPCA, which should be, is too busy chasing Fox Hunts they suspect of killing foxes, or pensioners who can't bring themselves to have beloved pets 'put down.'

One report I found told of a man in a blue overall type 'uniform' approaching an older man walking his two dogs. Identifying himself as a 'Dog Warden' the man first of all alleged that the dogs were fouling the area and had been reported as 'not under control.' He refused to produce any identity or authority - which English Law requires of any person exercising a legal power - and declared he was 'confiscating' the dogs. The owner resisted, and one of the dogs became agitated enough for the man to retreat. The owner was unable to get the registration of the van, but noted it was unmarked. He complained to his Council who promised to 'get back to him' but assured him that none of their employees were involved.

So who was? This report was echoed by others, sometimes with one man sometimes two, the target was usually a youth or a pensioner walking a dog and sometimes the person(s) used threats of prosecution. Now I may be wrong, recent governments have fouled up the legal system so badly its possible I'm no longer correct, but 'impersonating an officer of the law' is a criminal offence.

Some interesting links give an idea of the scale of the problem, starting with this article in the Daily Telegraph. Or Dog Theft Actions website and Dog Watch. And these are just three out of a host from a simple search.

To me the interesting aspect of this is that it is happening in broad daylight and it is certainly not isolated incidents. Some dogs are stolen 'to order' for resale to people looking for a pet as an accessory, Cocker Spaniels are currently favourite. Others are not so lucky, they are stolen for a sport banned in every civilised society. Dog fighting is illegal in the UK, yet it is happening on a scale that suggests it is not just well established, but backed by some serious criminals - yet the police don't want to know and the RSPCA doesn't even show any interest in following up the disappearances. Setting two dogs on one another to fight to the death is obscene in any society, that it is happening in the UK with the tacit conivance of the police and the organisation which receives millions annually in donations to stamp out such cruelty is a national disgrace.

The scum that engage in this cruelty are seldom caught, and even if they are, since their crime is 'merely' animal cruelty, the courts tend to hand out a fine or a slap on the wrist - not a jail sentence intended to punish. To those who argue that jail is not about 'punishment' but 'reform' I should like to compel them to watch some of the sick video footage now available on the internet, or to compell them to deal with the corpses of small dogs torn to pieces as 'bait,' or the maimed larger dogs pitted against others driven mad by cruelty and savage goading.

No, I have no sympathy for those who indulge in this 'sport.' Frankly throwing them into a pit with a hungry and angry bear, tiger or lion would be about right. But I feel that would be inhumane - for the animal concerned.

As long as this activity is tolerated we must consider our society as sick. It cannot continue.

1 comment:

  1. Dogfighting is a problem here in America too but civilized society here won't stand for it and law enforcement takes it quite seriously, so most of it stays well underground. Witness the debacle of NFL football player Michael Vick over dogfighting allegations and just how far he fell off his pedestal, even though he's rehabbed himself to a surprising degree he will never regain the adoration of the public he once had. Even here in the redneck state of Arkansas, people who support the practice are considered the lowest of scum and generally shunned by decent folk, and woe to those caught trying to steal or harm someone else's pet. Furthermore, dogfighting busts tend to be a bonanza for law enforcement since they often find other illegal activities such as drugs, illegally possessed firearms, stolen property, and people wanted on felony warrants. It's too bad that the laws in the UK don't reflect the revulsion of decent society over the practice.