After a man died in West Yorkshire following a dog attack, the subject of violent and dangerous dogs has become the focus of nationwide attention.
Yet the problem appears unlikely to go away anytime soon. Indeed scores of people across Britain are still training their dogs to be weapons of mass destruction, and to maul each other in organised fights - even though such events have been illegal for over 180 years.
The chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, Eduardo Gonçalves, told talkRADIO that dog fighting is still "lurking on our streets and in our parks." He adds that this barbaric bloodsport "thrives on invisibility, but the more we investigate, the more we find.
"Stories of fights in parks, dogs being trained using tyres, dogs being beaten until they submit to their owner’s will. Rumours of pet cats and dogs stolen by dog fighters spread through towns and cities.
“If anyone thinks dog fighting is a thing of the past, then sadly they are wrong. Last year we commissioned a ground-breaking academic report which said that a dog fight was taking place every day in the UK."
The League documents three levels of dog fighting: 'Street Rolls'; which take place in urban parks and housing estates; 'Hobbyist' which often involves gambling and gangs; and 'Professional' which uses highly trained dogs with reputable bloodlines.
Gonçalves revealed that “Dogs are being bred and sold specifically for fighting. Pet animals are being used to provide a steady supply of torture victims for cruel training exercises where they are tethered down or used as dangling ‘bait’ for dogs being trained to fight for ‘fun’. The cruelty behind this underground world is endless and it’s happening right under our noses.
“We want appropriate penalties to be introduced, and for appropriate action to be taken against perpetrators. Dog fighting is barbaric and we cannot allow it to be part of a modern Britain.”
The League Against Cruel Sports has also conducted an investigation into dog fighting called Project Bloodline, and they are calling for the implementation of a national dog fighting action plan. It is based on three areas, Prevention, Understanding and Prosecution.
In 2014 the RSPCA received 594 calls in relation to dog fighting, which was an increase of nearly 33% from 2010, which saw 449 calls. The West Midlands was the region which witnessed the most reports, followed by Greater London and Greater Manchester.
The RSPCA has a Special Operations Unit, which monitors and uncovers organised animal cruelty. However because those involved in dog fighting are usually linked to other crimes and the issue can be very complex, it can take months to gather enough evidence to take those involved to court.