Anyone convicted of involvement in dog-fighting to receive a custodial sentence.
Although dog-fighting in the UK has been illegal for many years it continues due to the underground nature of those involved. As part of the 'training regime' for fighter dogs, pets are often stolen from gardens etc to be used as 'bait dogs'. They are thrown to the fighter dogs to be torn apart.
Fining those convicted of being involved in dog-fighting is not a deterrent due to the vast amounts of money involved in dog-fighting circles. The only way to address this vile 'blood sport' is to give AUTOMATIC custodial sentences to ANYONE be it those who steal pets to be used as bait dogs, fighter dog owners, organisers and those who attend fights i.e. EVERYONE involved.
Government responseThis response was given on 19 April 2018
The Government has already announced their intention to increase the maximum penalty for offences related to dog fighting from 6 months’ imprisonment to 5 years’ imprisonment.
The Government abhors acts of cruelty to animals and condemns the actions of anyone involved in illegal dog fighting. That is one of the reasons why the government announced in September 2017 that it would bring forward legislation to increase the maximum penalties for causing any unnecessary suffering to an animal, including such offences relating to dog fighting, from 6 months’ imprisonment to 5 years’ imprisonment in addition to the existing option of an unlimited fine. In doing so the government will give the courts sufficient powers to deal effectively with a range of animal fighting offences in a way which reflects the seriousness of the offence.
Sentencing is entirely a matter for our independent courts taking into account the circumstances of each case.
With regard to sentencing for offences of dog fighting, the court will decide the sentence in each case subject to the maximum that Parliament has provided and any relevant guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council. Sentencing must be proportionate to the offence committed, taking into account all the circumstances of each case.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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