Waste of space denies dogfighting offences after raid on his home

A man accused of dogfighting offences told animal welfare officers the terriers enjoyed it and one "was still wagging its tail as it died".

Tony Barbara, 51, was arrested after the Scottish SPCA raided his home in Newmilns, East Ayrshire, and found two injured pit bulls and gear linked to the underground activity.

Inspector Hannah Medley said Barbara made a voluntary statement after being interviewed and spoke "freely and openly", using dog fighting terminology and explaining the terms and rules.

Ms Medley told Kilmarnock Sheriff Court: "He told us he had been dog fighting for the last 20 or 30 years and had only seen one dog die, and that when a dog was dying it was still wagging its tail when it died."

She said Barbara described the "etiquette of dog fighting" and used its terminology, such as scratch lines, pits and coming up to scratch.

"He was talking about dog breeds and his fascination with bull breeds", she said.

Barbara also allegedly told Ms Medley he knew vets who would teach owners how to treat injuries and medicate dogs.

He denies breaching the Dangerous Dogs Act by keeping the two female pit bull terriers, Kira and Jackie, at his home and elsewhere in November 2014,

Barbara also denies keeping dogs for fighting, having syringes and medications, possessing breaking sticks to stop fights and causing the animals unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate care and treatment.

Further charges of threatening or abusive behaviour by shouting, swearing and aggressive conduct were also denied.

The court heard items seized from his home included a mobile phone containing images of dogs and a picture of a person’s back tattooed with the words Gamequest Kennels, established 1987.

Breaking sticks, which are inserted into dogs’ mouths to stop fights, were also recovered, the trial was told. Barbara claimed these were for ornamental purposes and had not been used since the 1980s but is later said to have admitted using a breaking stick when his two dogs were "playing together".

Kira and Jackie were taken away in a Scottish SPCA ambulance to be examined at a vet clinic.

Under interview, Barbara gave "no comment" responses when asked why he had veterinary medication used specifically to treat dog injuries and syringes containing milky liquid.

He also refused to comment on whether or not the dogs had been identified as American pit bull terriers, which are strictly regulated, and attributed scars and injuries to "dives into bushes after rabbits".

Barbara admitted being banned from keeping dogs in England and Wales for ten years following a previous criminal conviction. The trial continues.

North West Hunt Saboteurs Association

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Direct Action Against All Forms of bloodsports


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