Man pleads guilty in dog fighting case


John Knibbs pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to animals.
John Knibbs pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to animals.

A ‘DOG lover’ who pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to dogs has been banned from owning any animal.

John Knibbs, 45, of Harrowby Hall Estate, Grantham, pleaded guilty to five charges at Grantham Magistrates Court on Monday, including failing to prevent two Presa Canarias dogs he owned from fighting and owning equipment in connection with dog fighting.

The prosecution followed a raid on Mr Knibbs’ home in April of last year, during which RSPCA inspectors also found a dead bull terrier discarded in a bin. The bdog had died from malnutrition.

RSPCA Inspector Andy Bostock was part of the team who raided Mr Knibbs’ home.

Describing the scene, he said: “There were a huge number of dogs kept in cages. The discovery of the dead dog kept in a dust bin was particularly sickening.

“The scene was not indicative of belonging to someone who loved animals. A number of the dogs had suffered injuries which had not been treated adequately.”

The court was told how RSPCA inspectors had discovered a breaking stick used to separate fighting dogs, dog fighting books and DVDs, weighing scales and medication to treat injured animals.

However, there was no evidence Mr Knibbs had ever participated in organised dog fighting.

Mr Turner, defending, told the court how Knibbs has a history of caring for animals.

He said: “Mr Knibbs has rescued approximately 40 greyhounds over the years. The defendant loves dogs.”

However, faced with the evidence, district judge Richard Blake refused to accept this was the case.

He said: “It is apparent to me that two of the dogs had clearly been caused unnecessary suffering. A real lover of dogs would have prevented this suffering.”

He added: “Anyone who loved an animal would not have kept it rotting in a bin.”

Knibbs also admitted owning five pit bull terriers which are banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Knibbs was sentenced to 22 weeks in prison. He is already serving time for other offences.

He is banned from keeping or owning any animal indefinitely. He must wait at least 10 years to appeal the ban.

In summing up, judge Blake said: “I see in your conduct a cynical disregard for animals.”

The five pit bull dogs were destroyed soon after the raid as they are considered dangerous animals by law.

The two Presa Canarias dogs are currently being cared for in private kennels and the RSPCA hopes to find a new home for them in the next month.


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