Animal welfare groups in the Irish Republic have called on Buy & Sell, a classified listings newspaper, to stop carrying advertisements for dogs used in illegal blood sports.
The newspaper is being used by blood-sports enthusiasts to exchange dogs specially bred for use in badger baiting and dog fighting, according to animal-welfare organisations.
Although the blood sports are organised in secret, the sale of some dogs used in the illegal practices is organised through Buy & Sell.
Some advertisements that offer terriers described as “working strain” are in fact dogs bred to bait badgers, a protected species. The adverts usually include terms that refer to a dog’s working ability, strain or bloodline.
Orla Aungier, a spokeswoman for the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Dspca), said the newspaper had promised to stop carrying ads for patterdale terriers, a breed used for baiting badgers, but they were appearing again. “We have told Buy & Sell that we were not happy to see terms like ‘working dogs’ being used to advertise patterdales, as it usually meant the dogs are being sold by people involved in illegal blood sports,” said Aungier.
“As far as the society is concerned, Buy & Sell should not be carrying advertisements for patterdale terriers, or any other dog for that matter. We also believe that some dogs offered for sale come from puppy farms. We would urge people never to buy a dog or puppy from the pages of Buy & Sell.”
Stephen Philpott, the chief executive of the Ulster Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, described the newspaper as a “meeting point” for blood-sports enthusiasts. He wants legislation to curb such adverts. “Our investigations have shown time after time that criminals involved in organised blood sports, such as badger baiting and even dog fighting, often contact each other through adverts which they place in the Buy & Sell,” he said.
“If it were not for the classified section of that newspaper, these people would have difficulty making contact with networks of other blood sports enthusiasts and sourcing new dogs for their sport.”
Christian Jago-Byrne, a spokesman for Buy & Sell, said it had banned adverts for “working terriers” but some were published accidentally due to the large volume received in recent weeks. “We will be addressing this issue from next week,” he said, pledging the newspaper would do its utmost to address the issues raised by the two animal welfare agencies.