Oct 09, 2014 20:00
By Amy Glendinning
Vet and owners tell of horror injuries suffered by pets stolen for ‘bait’ – as thug faces jail for allowing bulldogs to fight among themselves in squalid, hellhole flat
The shocking scale and brutality behind dog fighting can be revealed by the M.E.N. today.
Pets are being snatched from Manchester streets to be used as bait for fighting dogs while yobs are training their animals by biting them.
Vet Bartosz Ropelewski told the M.E.N. how he is seeing dog fighting cases every week and revealed how he had to treat a rottweiler that had been bitten by its owner with the aim of training it to attack other people and dogs.
Dog owners John and Carole Carroll have also told how their pet border collie disappeared for two days and they fear he was used as bait for fighting dogs.
And a court case heard how Alexander Walker’s six bulldogs – which had severe wounds from being allowed to fight among themselves – were forced to live in shocking conditions.
Explaining how mistreatment is now commonplace, Mr Ropelewski cites one bizarre case involving a man and his rottweiler is one of many he has seen recently involving dogs being trained to attack.
The vet, who works at Buchanan Vets in Baguley, Wythenshawe, also recently saved the life of a dog whose throat was ripped out when it was set upon by another dog in a park.
Mr Ropelewski, who has worked at the vet’s for nine years, said: “There’s a massive problem with it at the moment – it’s on a weekly basis, there’s so many cases.
“We’ve also had an owner who was biting his own dog – it was a rottweiler and he had been pinning it down on a table and biting it.
“He thought it was a good way of training it to attack other people and dogs.
“We had another dog where the whole head was nearly ripped off – it needed 130 stitches and five hours of surgery but survived.
“It had gone to the park with its owner and another dog, a staffie type, had attacked it.
“Owners are training these dogs to fight and they are ripping these other dogs apart.
“I think there are a lot of dogs being used as bait around here – we’ve had quite a few cases.
“It is mainly pitbull and rottweiler types which seem to be attacking other dogs.”
Currently, under UK law, one dog attacking another is not classed as a crime – but treated as a civil matter.
Police can only step in and bring a prosecution if a dog attacks a person.
Mr Ropelewski said: “The legislation needs to be changed – there is no law that can take steps if your dog is attacked by another dog.
“At the moment the police cannot do anything if a human is not attacked.
“It is very difficult if this happens and owners do not have pet insurance because the dog can need a lot of treatment.”
Our collie came home with a gaping wound after being stolen as ‘bait’
A couple have told how their fear their collie was used as bait for dog fighting – after it disappeared for two days and returned with terrible wounds.
John and Carole Carroll, from Wythenshawe, say border collie Jessie has become a different dog because of what happened to her while she was missing – going from friendly and playful to terrified.
The one-year-old disappeared while out for a walk near their home in Baguley and was found cowering near their doorstep a few days later with a gaping wound under one leg.
The couple say while searching for Jessie they were told dogs were being taken to be used as ‘bait’ to train fighting dogs before being dumped, badly injured.
Wythenshawe is known to have a higher than average number of ‘section one’ or banned breeds, mostly pitbull-type dogs, which can be trained to attack on more docile ‘bait’ breeds.
John, 57, and Carole, 52, who live off Floatshall Road, are now speaking out to appeal for information about what happened to their dog, which disappeared on September 25 and returned two days later, and warn other owners.
John said: “I always take Jessie out at night and as we were walking back she ran into some bushes barking and just disappeared.
“We were told someone had seen a man putting her in a van.
“A few days later our son came round and she was cowering on the doorstep with a big hole in her front leg and chest.
“She used to be so friendly but now she’s terrified of everything.”
Jessie’s injuries are so severe the Carroll’s vets, Buchanan’s on Hall Lane, are treating her for free after the couple used up their £360 savings on surgery costs.
Carole said: “The vets have been like angels to us – we can’t thank them enough.
“When we first took Jessie there they said it looked like definitely looked like a bite by another dog – what has happened I don’t know.
“I’m so angry, people need to know if dogs are being taken.”
Greater Manchester Police officers are set to investigate the dog’s disappearance to see if there is enough evidence to establish if a crime has taken place.
Anyone with information is asked to call Greater Manchester Police on 101.
Facing jail, thug who kept six bulldogs in horror conditions alongside animal’s corpse
A thug kept six bulldogs which were regularly involved in fights between themselves in appalling conditions alongside a bloody corpse of another pet for two days.
Their owner could face prison after the disgusting discovery at his home in Prestwich.
Alexander Walker’s animals were seized after police stumbled across the 37-year-old digging a grave for the dead pet in woods near his home in April this year.
The bulldog, named Major, had been savagely attacked in a park by another dog two days before the find, Manchester magistrates court heard.
After following Walker to his flat in Beechcroft, Sedgeley Park, an inspector found the floor was filled with rubbish and needles.
All the animals had severe wounds from regular fights and excrement was caked into their paws.
Although there was no suggestion the animals had been involved in organised fights, the court heard they picked up numerous injuries having been allowed to fight each other in the cramped flat.
Paul McCormick, representing the RSPCA, said the stench could be picked up outside.
He said: “On reaching the flat the inspector realised the smell was emanating from his property, and saw a swarm of flies.
“He could see a large amount of of excrement, both old and new, all over the floor. There was so much it was impossible not to step in it.”
He said the remains of a cannabis factory was also found, and the only food in the flat was a piece of cake next to Major’s corpse.
The three adult American bulldogs and three puppies had been kept alongside the bloodied body for two days, he said.
Walker, of Windsor Crescent, Bowker Vale, Bury, pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to care for his dogs.
The defendant, who is out of work and on benefits, said he had bought his first American bulldog after being stabbed in the chest with a screwdriver in 2011.
Zoe Earle, defending, said police did not track down his attempted murderer and Walker, who now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, had kept the animal for protection.
She said: “The problem came when it had a litter, and then they had another.
“Before he knew it, he had in his possession a vast amount of dogs and no hope of looking after them.”
He faces imprisonment for up to a year, and fines of up to £20,000 for the neglect.
Walker was also told he could be banned from keeping animals for life when he appears for sentencing on October 30.
North West Hunt Saboteurs Association
Blog – http://nwhsa.wordpress.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ManchesterHuntSabs
Direct Action Against All Forms of bloodsports