Couple who reared pitbulls avoid prison

A couple who bred illegal pitbulls to sell on as fighting dogs have escaped a jail term.

Sarah Wilkinson, 23 and Nathan Kirkby, 18, have been sentenced to 120 hours of unpaid work by magistrates after admitting possession of a fighting dog, breeding of a fighting dog and advertising as a gift a fighting dog at Preston Magistrates Court.

They were arrested when police and RSPCA officials swooped on their home in Robin Street, Ribbleton, in February following a series of complaints from residents at PACT meetings for the area.

Rascal, black and white dog, China, a brown and white bitch and their 10 puppies were seized and taken to secure kennels. Experts later concluded they were banned pitbulls.

Wilkinson and Kirkby were sentenced to 120 hours unpaid work and a community order, with supervision for six months.

The court made a destruction order for all the animals but the fate of China and Rascal remains unclear as the couple have appealed the order.

The 10 puppies, whom they gave up the rights to, are to be put to sleep.

Insp Paddy O’Neill, of Fulwood Police, said “Dealing with issues that matter most to our communities is our top priority. I hope that these two results go to show that we are clamping down on concerns about dangerous dogs and we are able, with our partners to do something about it to try and make communities safer.”

A 26-year-old Preston man was given a restriction order by magistrates at the end of June after his pet was seized by police. The order means his dog must be muzzled and on a lead – both in a public place and in a vehicle – and must be neutered and micro chipped.

The order says it needs to be registered on an exempted dog index, insured and must not be in the control of under 16s.


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