Pitbull fighting in city
Exclusive by Pamela Duncan
PITBULL fighting is allegedly taking place after dark in the People’s Park and at least one other city location, according to Noel Shinners, of the Limerick Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
He says that he has had reports of pitbull fighting taking place in the park and in the Southill area.
According to Mr Shinners, one concerned citizen told him that he witnessed a Jack Russell dog being thrown to the pitbulls as an easy kill or "bait” before the two larger dogs turned on one another.
He says that many incidents of dogs going missing can be attributed to the act of "baiting” as blood thirsty dog owners seek out easy targets.
Frankie Coote, dog warden for the ISPCA pound in Ennis, says that he has seen many dogs "dumped on the border” that have obviously been involved in the blood sport.
He says that dogs being found in Meelick and surrounding hills are in terrible condition and that the majority are pitbulls and pitbull cross breeds.
"The owners won’t dump them unless they’re finished. You know just to look at them. They have scars from their previous fights and often have pieces hanging off them. It’s horrific”.
And the dog warden says that it is difficult to secure a conviction: "Trying to get evidence is difficult. You’d have to witness a dog fight before anything can be done”.
In the first case of its kind in this State, five men were found guilty of ill-treating animals in a pitbull fight and received fines of 12,270 euro and/or two years imprisonment, in 2005.
The ISPCA are calling for the dogs to be banned as is the case in England; "I can only hope that legislation will be enacted to ban pitbull terriers from Ireland altogether,” he said. John Carmody, Campaigns coordinator with the Animal Rights Action Network, says that pitbull fighting has increased in the city over the past five years and that gang members were increasingly using the dogs to underline their "hard image”.
"These dogs are innocent creatures that have been forced into a life of fighting,” Mr Carmody said.
He told the Post that while pitbulls have a slightly more aggressive nature than other dogs, they are being "reared into violence” by their owner and are "10 times more vicious as a result”.
A City Hall spokesperson said they had not received any complaints in relation to such incidents in the People’s Park but said if any member of the public had information they should report them directly to gardai.
Noel Shinners said that the LSPCA was working in conjunction with the Roxboro gardai are calling on people to report any incidents; "We would advise people to come to our offices on the Hyde Road and will be dealt with in the highest confidence,” he concluded. The number for the LSPCA is 415618.