Who, age What Where When Last Known Address
Not disclosed - 14 people arrested dogfighting raid-named "Operation Lace"

Merseyside, England

January 11, 2007  
Type of Crime Other Crimes #/Type of animal(s) involved Case Status Next Court Date
    51 dogs Alleged  

Eight weeks after the discovery of the Alum Rock Road ring, (Alum Rock) the RSPCA's undercover Special Operations Unit (SOU) launched Operation Lace, a series of raids on dogfighters in and around Birmingham. The operation led to the seizure of 51 dogs - and the recovery of dogfighting videos from the US and Pakistan, as well as veterinary kits, treadmills and breaking sticks, which are used to prise apart the jaws of a dog when they become locked on an opponent. Fourteen people were charged with various offences related to dog fighting and possessing banned dogs.

Of the 51 dogs seized by Police and RSPCA officers 45 are suspected pitbull terriers. The operation, which had been planned for three months, was launched after five-year-old Ellie Lawrenson was killed in St Helens by her uncle's pitbull on New Year's Day.

Merseyside police's chief constable, Bernard Hogan-Howe, has asked the Home Office for an amnesty so that animals banned by the Dangerous Dogs Act can be handed in by their owners.

Superintendent Dave Connor, of Merseyside Police, said: "It is clear that some people keep pitbull terriers as a status symbol and may not fully understand the implications of owning this type of dog. There is, though, a criminal element that keep them for more sinister purposes. Dogfighting is a barbaric activity and it will not be tolerated. Anyone who trains or breeds animals for that purpose can expect to be dealt with robustly."

The RSPCA's chief inspector Ian Briggs said: "We will check any seized dogs for injuries, and provide the police with expertise on dogfighting while the investigation progresses. The recent operations on Merseyside sadly demonstrate that large numbers of pitbull types are being kept for the wrong reasons ... the dogs' welfare is unnecessarily put at great risk by their owners."

The RSPCA estimates there may be about 100 people involved in underground dogfighting in Britain 170 years after it was banned. Earlier this month, eight dogs thought to be pitbull terriers were seized in St Helens and Widnes and a further 22 were recovered from a unit in Aintree, Liverpool.


The Guardian