On Tuesday, Mike Gapes attended a reception at the Houses of Parliament held by animal welfare campaigners League Against Cruel Sports, highlighting the horrific reality of dog fighting.
He heard about Cupcake, a Staffordshire bull terrier, who has become the ‘poster dog’ for a campaign which is calling for tougher sentencing and a national register to tackle the scourge of dog fighting across the UK.
Before she was rescued, Cupcake was subjected to horrific abuse by her dog fighting owners. Used as bait to train other dogs to fight, her teeth were broken with pliers to remove her only defence. She had sustained multiple injuries and scars including a head trauma from being slammed against walls or punched, which may lead to her losing an eye. She was also overbred to provide puppies which would either be trained to fight or used as bait themselves.
A dog fight takes place every day somewhere in the UK. Dog fighting is not purely a matter of animal welfare. Evidence from the UK and abroad points to the activity being a ‘gateway’ crime to serious and organised offences, such as drug and gun crime. In the United States dog fighting is recognised as a Grade A felony by the FBI and the practice of tackling dog fighting to prevent other crimes is well established.
Mike Gapes said: “There are thousands of caring dog owners in my constituency and they will be shocked to hear how animals in the dog fighting world are abused.
“We are a nation of animal lovers, so we need to treat our pets with the respect they deserve. Further action is needed to tackle this sadistic bloodsport – including stiffer sentences as a deterrent to those who force dogs to fight one another.”