As most people know, dog fighting is a big problem in the UK; only last March the BBC reported on dog fighting in Birmingham being used publicly to ‘settle scores’ and the Chief inspector of the RSPCA special operations unit has stated that dog fighting in the UK is up 400% in the last three years. However, speaking recently with a representative for London’s Mayhew Animal Home at Discover Dogs this year, I was surprised to find that out that many of the dogs taken into welfare are the victims not only of fighting and attacks but also of being used as ‘bait’ animals.
The HSUS (US Humane Society) says that “dogs who are born “cold,” or won’t fight, may be kept around to sic other dogs on.” They are cut and bound to give the fighting dog the scent of blood and teach them to attack other dogs on sight. It may even surprise people to learn that it is not just the stereotypical ‘fighting types’ used but our Bassets too.
Only ‘docile dogs and cats are used as bait animals’; I’m sure that anyone who has ever owned and loved a Basset hound can can imagine this only too well. For example, two years ago, the Salisbury Post raised awareness of the issue, telling the heartbreaking story of one young Basset hound who had been used as ‘dog bait’. His ears had been completely chewed off. Thanks to the work of a Basset rescue organisation he is now alive and well, working as a therapy dog visiting vulnerable people in need of companionship. This Basset was lucky; bait dogs are very often far too mutilated to survive.
However, it’s surprisingly difficult to find accurate information about baiting, in fact almost all the informational material out there comes from the HSUS. With all of the buzz at the moment about the new dangerous dog legislations coming into play, along with the Kennel club’s campaigning for compulsory micro-chipping, I find that it’s easy to overlook some of the surrounding issues which get pushed to the sidelines.
If you’re interested in finding out more about dog baiting or fighting then you can check out the following links or log onto Twitter and Facebook and get involved in the discussion!