Dog fighting on the rise, Royal Veterinary College report suggests

Dog fighting is on the rise, with nearly one in six vets treating animals wounded taking part in the illegal activity, a new report suggests.

The Royal Veterinary College has warned the scale of the practice may be far more widespread than previously thought.

A UK-wide survey found that 15 per cent of vets or veterinary nurses said they believed they had treated at least one dog injured in illegal fighting in the past 12 months.

However, the report wants that concerns routinely go unreported for fear of breaking confidentiality with customers.

It follows figures from the RSPCA of more than 4,800 reports of organised dog fighting between 2006 and 2015.

There were 137 convictions for dog-fighting related offences over that period.

Dr Siobhan Abeyesinghe, Co-Author of the report and Senior Lecturer in Animal

Behaviour and Welfare Science at the RVC, said: “This study has revealed that a small, but significant, population of dogs seen by veterinary professionals is still suspected of involvement in dog fighting, despite it being illegal for nearly 200 years.

The study is the first analysis of the experiences of vets and veterinary nurses.

It found that even when staff suspect organised dog fighting, they often do no not report it because they do not know hot to go about it, or they are reluctant to report on their client.

Dr Abeyesinghe said: “The veterinary team are on the front line and have a key role to play in eradicating this practice, but we believe that there are many barriers that need to be addressed in order to enable their contribution.

“We would encourage any veterinary professionals to alert the relevant authorities to any cases of suspected involvement in dog fighting.”

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