“Send dogfighters to jail”, says poll

More than two-thirds (69%) of people think a prison sentence is the most appropriate punishment for an offence where a dog is set onto another animal to fight, according to new polling figures published today.

The poll, by YouGov for the League Against Cruel Sports, comes as the animal welfare charity launches its ‘Fighting Dogs Campaign’ to highlight what it claims is the cruelty of dog fighting, badger baiting and, controversially, terrier work usually associated with hunts. The League – which campaigned for eighty years for the ban on hunting – claims there is little difference between dog fighting and fox hunting.

Douglas Batchelor, Chief Executive of the League, said today that the charity was building on the huge success of its Hunt Crimewatch service. “We have received hundreds of calls and we pass these to the police. Our Fighting Dog Crimewatch line will work on a similar basis. The public abhor cruelty to animals whether it’s a dog fighting a dog or a pack of dogs fighting a fox.”

Meanwhile the actor Tamer Hassan has lent his backing to the League’s campaign, saying, “My dog is part of my family. I just don’t understand how anyone can use a dog to fight a dog or another animal. It’s disgusting.” Hassan – who stars in the new Clash of the Titans film – has recorded a short internet film for the launch of the telephone line.

The YouGov poll shows that 92% of the public think dog fighting should be illegal whilst only 76% believe it is illegal. Eighty-nine per-cent believe badger baiting should be illegal whilst 66% think it is. And whilst 78% of people think terrier work should be illegal only 33% think it is currently banned.

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