#TheList dogfighting ring members with an unhealthy obsession for animal cruelty Kenneth Charles Langan, born 12/03/1968, of 277 Valley Road, Portslade, Brighton BN41 2TH, Jeremy Peter Brown, born 11/09/1954, of 4 Tennyson Street, Chesterfield S42 5TY, John Anthony Mullen, born 07/09/1957, of 8 Tarragon Gardens, Northfield, Birmingham B31 5HU and Ryan Nuttall, born c. 1971, of 129 Garden Terrace, Newstead Village, Nottingham NG15 0BX
The men pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering to animals, failing to provide veterinary care, and providing premises for dog-fighting.
Ryan Nuttall pleaded guilty to 11 charges, while Mullen, Langan and Brown denied some of the lesser charges which included being present at an illegal dog fight.
All four were caught after undercover journalists bought a pit bull terrier and tricked their way into the gang by pretending to be interested in their animal fighting
Sentencing the defendants, District Judge Peter Nuttall said: “To any right-thinking member of the public, dog-fighting, and everything which goes with it, is offensive.
“These were dogs which were used to fighting and they were bred for that.”
He added that a large amount of dog-fighting literature, equipment and cartoons depicting dog-fighting found at the defendants’ addresses showed “an unhealthy obsession” with the practice.
Langan, Nuttall and Brown were sentenced to four months in prison, while Mullen received a three-month custodial sentence.
Paul King, prosecuting, had told the court how seven pit bull-type dogs seized by the RSPCA had suffered hundreds of cuts, puncture wounds and injuries – none of which had been treated by a vet.
The dogfighting ring had conducted fights at two hidden pits at Chesterfield and Newstead in the Mansfield area of Nottinghamshire.
The outcome was hailed by the RSPCA, whose special operations unit had brought the prosecution, as a “fantastic result”.
Speaking after the case RSPCA Chief Inspector Mike Butcher said: “I think this sends a clear message to the public and to other dog-fighters that if they are caught they will go to prison.
“Dog-fighting is a bloody, cruel and brutal sport carried out by people with a perverse sense of pride in their animals.
“Three of the dogs taken in this case had deep scarring and wounds to the face and chest.
“This sentence is a fantastic result for everyone involved, and to have these men taken out of the picture really strikes a blow against animal abusers.”
But despite the victory the RSPCA are concerned that the full picture of dog-fighting in the UK – banned in 1835 – is unknown.
Mr Butcher said: “I have been working to beat these kinds of people for more than 15 years and it is getting harder and harder to catch them.”
Another spokesperson from the animal welfare organisation echoed his fears, saying the illicit nature of dog-fighting meant “most of the time it is very difficult to know where it is being carried out, and the extent of the problem is difficult to assess”.
Sentencing: custodial. All four men were banned from keeping animals for life.