Dog fighting "still rife" in West Country
1 April 2019, 12:34 | Updated: 1 April 2019, 14:51
Despite being illegal for almost 200 years, Heart's been told dog fighting is still going on in the West Country.
There have been 150 cases reported to the RSPCA here in the last four years.
The charity has released these figures as it calls for more to be done to raise awareness of the blood sport.
RSPCA dog fighting expert and Special Operations Unit (SOU) chief inspector Mike Butcher said: "Our figures show that in the past four years the RSPCA has received 7915 reports of dog fighting incidents [in England and Wales]. While it's promising to see that these figures are dropping year on year, it's still staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years and a bloody pastime which most people would consider consigned to history is still so rife".
Dog fighting was made illegal in England in 1835.
The RSPCA's SOU investigate reports, rescue dogs and prosecute those behind it.
They say many of the dogs used by dog fighters are never found and those who are rescued are often banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act so can't legally be re-homed.