Category Archives: dog fighting

Dog fighting

Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway: Liam Patterson

#TheList Liam Patterson, born c. 1993, of Eastfield Road, Dumfries DG1 – trained three dogs for animal fighting

Liam Patterson from Dumfries, Scotland, trained his dogs for fighting and kept a banned breed dog
It was said that Patterson had “a fascination, verging on obsession, with dog fighting”.

Liam Patterson was found in possession of videos on his personal devices showing his dogs fighting and being trained to fight. Dog fighting paraphernalia and photos were also found at his home.

Patterson pleaded guilty to training dogs for, causing and taking part in animal fighting. This is contrary to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 under Section 23 (1) (a) (2) (e).

He also admitted to being in possession of an American pit bull terrier which is a banned breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Social media conversation between dog figher Liam Patterson and a friend in which he admits to setting his dog on a cat and taking her badger baiting ('pig' is slang for badger).
Social media conversation between Liam Patterson and a friend in which he admits to setting his dog on a cat and taking her badger baiting (‘pig’ is slang for badger).

Two of the dogs involved in the case were Staffordshire bull terriers named Zeus and Gucci and the American pit bull was called Bubba. All three were signed in to the care of the Scottish SPCA. Sadly Bubba had to be put to sleep because he was a banned breed.

Liam Patterson from Dumfries, Scotland, trained his dogs for fighting and kept a banned breed dog

An undercover Scottish SPCA special investigations unit inspector said, “We received information from the League Against Cruel Sports that Patterson was keeping and training dogs for the purposes of dog fighting and currently had fighting dogs at his home address.

“The intelligence we received also stated there was dog fighting equipment, books and gear at his home address.

“Due to immediate concerns for the welfare of the dogs, we obtained a search warrant and gained entry to the property where we found the three dogs. All appeared to be in good body condition.

“At the location, we found numerous items relating to dog fighting including weighted collars which are used as a training aid to strengthen and build endurance.

“Multiple videos of his own dogs fighting were found on Patterson’s personal devices. In many, he can be heard shouting encouragement in the background. Other footage discovered included other, unknown, dogs fighting and dogs with injuries consistent with fighting.

“Other videos showed Gucci, Zeus and Bubba being put through a vigorous training regime in line with dog fighting practice.

“Messages were found between Patterson and an unknown individual discussing plans to attend and enter in dog fights and their dogs’ ability to fight to the death. Communication was also discovered outlining Patterson’s desire to buy and sell American pit bulls.

“Over the course of this investigation, it became clear that Patterson had a fascination, verging on obsession, with dog fighting and breeds relating to the American pit bull. How he could hold these dogs in such high regard and let them fight each other with little regard for their welfare is very difficult to comprehend.

“We are very pleased with the sentence that has been handed to Patterson and we hope this is seen as a deterrent to other, active dog fighters.

“Dog fighting is such a well-guarded and underground crime, it’s extremely difficult to detect and investigate. We are proud to be leading the way using intelligence and expertise to bring these people to justice.

“The Scottish SPCA Special Investigation Unit is dedicated to combatting animal fighting. If anyone has any information pertaining to individuals who are involved in this activity, we would urge them to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.”

Martin Sims, director of investigations for the League Against Cruel Sports said: “We’re very proud that it was our intelligence work that has been the basis for this conviction, but what this case serves to show to the public is how abhorrent the world of dog fighting is and why the courts need to have more sentencing powers to properly punish those involved.

“In England and Wales legislation is moving through parliament to see maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty increased from six months to five years, but we are today calling on the Scottish Parliament to stop consulting on increasing sentences for animal cruelty and get on with passing the legislation that will be a proper deterrent to people like Liam Patterson who inflict pain on animals just to make money.”

Sentencing: 300-hour community payback order; 162-day restriction of liberty order. Banned from owning a dog for 15 years.

Scottish SPCA news
BBC News

Port Glasgow, Inverclyde: Sean Ward

#TheList Sean Ward, born c. 1991, originally from Greenock and more recently of Dougliehill Terrace, Port Glasgow PA14 – kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.
Sheriff Craig Harris described Ward’s behaviour ”evil and sadistic” as he jailed Ward for seven months and banned him from keeping dogs for 20 years.

Violent career criminal and wildlife persecutor Sean Ward was jailed for seven months after Scottish SPCA investigators uncovered evidence of his appalling animal cruelty. This included text messages in which Ward described setting dogs on a fox as “some buzz” as well as a sick video showing a live deer being restrained by it hind legs as voices urged dogs to attack it.

Photographs of Ward smiling beside the dead animal later emerged.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The habitual thug, who has multiple previous convictions for weapons offences and violence, pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act on summary complaint.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

Ward was caught after a dog walker spotted him out with an injured dog in Port Glasgow in April 2018.

The black and white Jack Russell terrier was limping, had cuts and blood on her limbs and chest as well as a severe injury to her face.

The dog walker filmed the injured dog and sent footage to the Scottish SPCA.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The court heard police officers and Scottish SPCA investigators carried out a series of raids at Ward’s home after receiving the video from the concerned dog walker.

On one occasion, they found a Patterdale Terrier with scars on her face.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

The animal was taken to a Scottish SPCA facility where she was examined by a vet. He found that the injuries were consistent with face-to-face fighting with a badger.

The vet viewed the film taken of the Jack Russell. In his opinion, the dog’s injuries were also consistent with face-to-face fighting with a badger.

A mobile phone seized during a search of Ward’s home was examined and a number of images and video were found.

One of the photographs showed Ward with a dead deer, a white lurcher and a Jack Russell.

Sean Ward from Port Glasgow kept fighting dogs for killing wildlife including badgers, deer and foxes.

A video of three dogs savaging a deer was also found where people were heard urging the dogs to attack.

Sara Shaw, head of the Wildlife and Environmental Crime Unit at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), welcomed the sentence.

She said: “These dogs caused terrible and unnecessary suffering with numerous wounds and scars.

“COPFS will continue to work to ensure those who participate in this barbaric practice are prosecuted and would encourage anyone who may have information on dog fighting to contact the police or Scottish SPCA.”

Sentencing: Jailed for seven months. Banned from keeping animals for 20 years.

BBC News
The Sun

Sleaford, Lincolnshire: Kimberleigh Steele

#TheList Kimberleigh Joanne Steele (aka Kim Donaghy), born 24/02/1989, currently of Castleland, Tulsk, County Roscommon, Ireland, and previously of 19 Polyanthus Drive, Sleaford and with links to Plymouth, Devon – bred dogs for fighting

Dog fighting ring member Kimberleigh Steele pictured outside court. Photo also shows Baddy, a victim of the pair's cruelty. The dog is believed to have died from his injuries, but his body has never been found.

Dog fighting ring member Kimberleigh Steele pictured outside court. Photo also shows Baddy, a victim of the pair’s cruelty. The dog is believed to have died from his injuries, but his body has never been found.

Steele was part of a dog fighting ring which was headed up by her partner, John Herbert Knibbs.

Steele's partner in life and in animal crime John Knibbs remains at large
Steele’s partner in life and in animal crime John Knibbs remains at large

Knibbs has failed to attend numerous hearings and a warrant is out for his arrest after he was convicted of dog fighting, ear cropping and causing unnecessary suffering.

Steele travelled from Ireland for a trial at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Monday, 8 April 2019.

Following her five-year disqualification order Steele will have to give up ownership of two dogs and a horse she keeps in Ireland

Before moving to Ireland Steele lived in Sleaford with Knibbs and has also stayed at two different addresses in Plymouth: Downfield Walk PL7 2DT and Durban Road PL3

In court she was sentenced for aiding and abetting Knibbs as well as possession of a banned pit bull terrier. The court also heard how she had ten animals in total, which were all used in a dog fighting ring. One has since died.

RSPCA prosecutor Hazel Stevens told the court: “At the time of the raid Steele claimed to own all of the dogs.

“We are looking after the dogs in kennels for £15,700 a year. Some are so dangerous they need to be darted before the staff can go inside.”

Sentencing Steele, the judge told her: “Your partner Knibbs has not attended court and is not that big of a man without his dogs.

“The custody threshold has passed but I am going to suspend it because you have young children.”

Speaking after Steele’s sentencing RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Withnall said : “It is a shame that Knibbs wasn’t here today.

“We are pleased with the district judge’s comments and the sentence he’s handed down. Knibbs isn’t bold enough to be here, we hope he will be sentenced soon.”

Sentencing: suspended custodial sentence of 16 weeks; £615 in fines. Banned from keeping animals for a paltry five years.

Lincolnshire Reporter
Lincolnshire Live
Grantham Journal


Dog fighting ring based in Lincolnshire and North Wales: John Knibbs, Stephen Gardner, Adam Scott, Kim Steele

#TheList John Knibbs, born 04/02/64, most recently of Polyanthus Drive, Sleaford NG34 7HS, Stephen Gardner, born c. 1961, of Willows End, Bloxholm, Lincoln LN4 3QF, Adam Scott, born c. 1984 of Aber Eilian Bach, Llaneilian, Amlwch, Anglesey LL68 9LR and Kimberleigh Steele, also known as Kim Donaghy, born 24/02/88, of Downfield Walk, Plymouth PL7 2DT

Dog fighting ring members John Herbert Knibbs most recently of Sleaford, Adam Scott of Llaneilian, Anglesey and a badly injured dog named Baddy, whose body has never been found
Dog fighting ring members John Herbert Knibbs most recently of Sleaford, Adam Scott of Llaneilian, Anglesey and a badly injured dog named Baddy, whose body has never been found.

The RSPCA prosecution case against a vicious dog-fighting gang who tried to breed the “ultimate dog” has been heard in court. Three members of the gang didn’t even bother to show up for their hearing and were convicted in their absence.

The court heard police and RSPCA investigators found eight dogs during a raid on a premises in Sleaford, including an American bulldog, a Bully Kutta cross Presa Canario and a pitbull terrier. Some of the dogs had horrific injuries, were scarred from fighting and in poor physical health.

The searches uncovered paraphernalia commonly used by people involved in dog fighting, including a ‘flirt pole’, a long pole with a rope attached and a ‘break stick’, a tool commonly used to break up a dog fight.

Video evidence obtained by the RSPCA and produced in court.

Serial dog fighter John Herbert Knibbs (who also uses the surname Donaghy), who was already banned for life from keeping animals, was the ringleader of the gang. His latest cruelty relates to when he was living in Sleaford with Kimberleigh Joanne Steele, but he has also stayed at addresses in Grantham, Barnsley, Stamford and Halifax.

Knibbs was convicted in his absence on charges which included keeping and training dogs for fighting, ear cropping and causing unnecessary suffering to a bull terrier called Baddy and another called Panther by failing to provide veterinary care for their injuries.

Distressing footage found on Knibbs’ mobile phone showed dogs being forced to fight for up to 45 minutes and being trained on treadmills. One video showed a dog tied to a treadmill and forced to run – a common training technique used to build up strength for fighting dogs.

Text messages exchanged between ring members indicated that one fight lasted 45 minutes and had ended when a terrified Presa Canario jumped out of a window to escape pitbull terrier Baddy as the latter dog went in for the kill.

Pitbull Baddy suffered horrific injuries after being forced to fight. He is believed to be dead but his body has never been found.
Pitbull Baddy suffered horrific injuries after being forced to fight. He is believed to be dead but his body has never been found.

Another text made reference to one dog being able to crush another’s bones with one bite.

Knibbs was first prosecuted for dog fighting by the RSPCA in 2009 when he was disqualified from keeping animals for life. He was then convicted of breaching his ban in 2016 ahead of the raid in Sleaford in September 2017.

Though his current whereabouts are unconfirmed, Knibbs is rumoured to have fled to Southern Ireland.

Knibbs’ partner Kimberleigh Joanne Steele was also convicted in absence for aiding and abetting him in evading his ban.

Messages and photos on Knibbs’ phone led investigators to two other addresses: Stephen Gardner’s home in Willows End, Bloxholm, and a luxury property with its own swimming pool in Anglesey, Wales, where backyard breeder of Presa Canarios Adam Scott resides with partner, Rachel Pearce (she was also originally charged but claims to have been acquitted). A badly scarred dog named Panther was found at Scott’s address.

Dog fighter Adam Scott of Aber Eilian Bach, Llaneilian, Amlwch, Anglesey
Adam Scott makes a lucrative living from his serial animal cruelty

Scott was convicted for having in his possession two pitbull terrier-type dogs contrary to Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, as well as aiding and abetting a disqualification order for Knibbs.

Dog fighter Adam Scott with partner Rachel Pearce, who although initially charged has not yet been convicted of any offence.
Adam Scott with partner Rachel Pearce, who although initially charged was not convicted of any offence.

RSPCA Inspector Kirsty Withnall, from the charity’s Special Operations Unit who investigated, said: “Some of these dogs had been trained to fight and some of them had been left suffering with horrible injuries from fighting.

“Although we never found the body of Baddy, the pictures and subsequent text messages about the fight revealed that there were severe puncture wounds to his head and the enforced fight between Baddy and a much larger Presa Canario was gruelling, lasting a total of 45 minutes.

“The videos also showed further evidence of this cruel and barbaric practice and the suffering of these dogs would have been horrendous.”

Insp Withnall added: “This was an organisation involved in keeping and breeding of dogs for fighting, owned and run by Mr Knibbs, a convicted dog fighter who had changed his name to John Donaghy to try and remain undetected.

“The court heard that this group were set on breeding a very large dog, possibly for fighting which they referred to as the ‘ultimate dog’.”

Adam Scott: ordered to pay £3,000 in costs plus £80 victim surcharge; 100 hours of unpaid community work.

A warrant is out for the arrest of Stephen John Gardner, who failed to attend court.

Lincolnshire Reporter
Daily Post
The Independent
BBC News

Aspenden, Hertfordshire: Neil Forrest

#TheList Neil Forrest, born 26/06/1974, of Meadow View, Aspenden, Buntingford SG9 9PB – ran an abhorrent dog fighting yard at his home

Dog fighter Neil Forrest from Aspenden, Hertfordshire
Dog fighter, heroin addict and all-round pathetic loser Neil Forrest lives to see another day while 3 of his ‘fighting’ dogs weren’t so lucky and were destroyed.

Former heroin addict Forrest trained dogs to fight and had images of dog fighting on his phone. He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a Staffordshire bull terrier and for possessing three pit bull terrier-type dogs which he used to fight.

Druggy and dog fighter Neil Forrest
Druggy and dog fighter Neil Forrest

District Judge Derek French told Forrest: “You have shown little or no remorse about what these dogs have gone through. These dogs were used by you as fighting dogs.

“This was clearly done with a view of commercial gain.”

On 5 March 2017 a badly injured young female Staffordshire bull terrier was found cowering in a garden by a member of the public in Aspenden, after she managed to escape from Forrest’s home.

Prosecuting, Mark Jones, said: “She was found cowering in a garden with numerous open wounds and scars to her body. There were numerous bite injuries to the muzzle, the mouth, her legs, and near the left eye of the dog.

“The vet who looked at the dog said that the wounds were between three and four days old.”

RSPCA inspector Cliff Harrison said: “This poor dog was absolutely covered in wounds – both fresh and historic – with bite marks, scratches and puncture wounds predominantly around her muzzle, ears and legs.

“These sorts of injuries are exactly the sort of thing we see when dogs are forced to fight another dog and the vet agreed that the injuries were consistent with dog fighting.”

A number of calls were made by Forrest to vets and dog wardens, including from Forrest’s mobile, while they tried to find the missing bull terrier that was being treated at a Buntingford vets.

Dogfighter Neil Forrest from Aspenden, Hertfordshire
Staffy Kali had more than likely been used as a bait dog by lifelong smackhead Neil Forrest

After concluding that the dog belonged to Forrest, who admitted having a 20-year addiction to heroin, the police and RSPCA launched a raid in Aspenden on 19 May 2017, finding books on pit bulls and dog fighting as well as three bull pit type dogs. Two of the dogs were extremely athletic and there were weighing scales and a treadmill to run dogs on in a garage next to the kennels.

Mr Harrison said: “It appears he has tried to run his own dog fighting yard – called Neil’s Yard – but it’s unclear whether he’s had much if any success with that.

“What is clear is that his dogs have significant injuries consistent with dog fighting and have clearly been caused suffering due to his pastime.

“We believe he has been involved in this abhorrent, secretive bloodsport for years.” Judge French said: “These dogs were being used and kept as a livelihood for you. These dogs were going to suffer seriously.”

Forrest was due to stand trial but pleaded guilty just before it was about to start to one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal, keeping or training animals for use in dog fights and possessing dogs which were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

24 weeks in prison; costs of £750. Banned from owning animals for life. The three pit bull type dogs were ordered to be destroyed.

Hertfordshire Mercury
Vet Times

Newmilns, East Ayrshire: Tony Barbara

#TheList Tony Barbara, born 23/09/1964, of 31 High Street, Newmilns, East Ayrshire KA16 9EB – a convicted dog fighter who defied his ban on keeping dogs and went on to commit further cruelty offences

Convicted dog fighter Tony Barbara currently of Newmilns, East Ayrshire, but originally from Dagenham, Essex
Tony Barbara told the Scottish SPCA he had been dog-fighting for the last 20 to 30 years. Photo shows one of the dogs found at his home in Newmilns, Kira. She, along with another dog named Jackie, were put to sleep  as a result of the deprivation order imposed on Barbara.

In February 2013 Tony Barbara was convicted of training pit bull terriers for illegal fights.  Barbara had trained two pit bull terriers called Elaine and Susie and a bull terrier called Gerald for fighting and subjected two of the animals to a catalogue of suffering. He also attempted to carry out DIY treatment on their injuries in case his actions were discovered by the authorities.

Convicted dog fighter Tony Barbara currently of Newmilns, East Ayrshire and originally from Dagenham, Essex
Barbara previously kept a pitbull terrier named Elaine, who had untreated eye and teat injuries

Barbara, who was linked to the Essex underworld, moved to Scotland after receiving a suspended jail sentence and 10-year dog ban.

He resumed his activities within months but was arrested after the Scottish SPCA raided his home in November 2014 and found two injured pit bulls and equipment linked to the illegal activity.

Social media image of dog fighter Tony Barbara

Barbara was found guilty of six charges including breaching the Dangerous Dogs Act by keeping two female pit bull terriers for fighting, having syringes and medications, possessing “breaking sticks” for fights and causing the animals unnecessary suffering by failing to provide adequate care and treatment.

His solicitor, James Arrol, said heavily-tattooed Barbara was “a man who has a number of psychiatric and health difficulties”.

Scottish SPCA inspector Hannah Medley said Barbara spoke “freely and openly”, using dog-fighting terminology and explaining the terms and rules.

Ms Medley added: “He told us he had been dog-fighting for the last 20 to 30 years and had only seen one dog die, and that when a dog was dying it was still wagging its tail when it died.”

Ms Medley said Barbara described the “etiquette of dog fighting” and used its terminology, such as scratch lines, pits and coming up to scratch.

“He was talking about dog breeds and his fascination with bull breeds”, she said, adding Barbara described knowing vets who would teach how to treat injuries and self-medicate dogs.

After his arrest, Barbara gave “no comment” responses when asked why he had veterinary medication used specifically to treat dog injuries and syringes containing milky liquid.

He also refused to comment on whether the dogs had been identified as American Pit Bull terriers, which are strictly regulated, and attributed scars and injuries to “dives into bushes after rabbits”.

Police and animal welfare inspectors found a “flesh stapler”, a training “flirt pole” and notebooks with accounts of the fights at his previous home in Dagenham, Essex, in 2011, his earlier trial heard.

Jailed for 8 months and banned from keeping dogs for life.

Barking & Dagenham Post
Daily Record
BBC News

Bolton, Greater Manchester: John Psaila

#TheList John George Psaila, born 02/12/1965, of 11 Alan Ball House, 89 Bolton Road, Farnworth, Bolton BL4 7AT – a “key figure” in British dog-fighting

John Psaila
John Psaila is believed to be behind some of most serious dog fighting gangs in the country

RSPCA officers uncovered what was in effect a training school for pit bull terrier-type dogs at John Psaila’s previous home in Thornvale, Abram, Wigan.

Psaila admitted 14 allegations including training dogs for the purpose of fighting, possession of equipment designed or adapted for use in dog-fighting and possession of pit bull terrier-type dogs.

John Psaila

Officers even discovered one dog being trained on a treadmill when they arrived at Psaila’s address in summer 2014.

Inspectors from the RSPCA’s special operations unit – which investigates organised animal crime – joined officers from Greater Manchester Police on warrants at Psaila’s Abram address, as well as a house on Lowton Street in Radcliffe, Manchester, on June 9, 2014.

Inspectors found dog-fighting paraphernalia and medical supplies for treating wounds at Psaila's home
Inspectors found dog-fighting paraphernalia and medical supplies for treating wounds at Psaila’s home

They were acting on information that he was involved in organised dog-fighting and an allegation he was preparing to take a dog to a fight.

At the Abram address they found what resembled a training school for fighting dogs, including treadmills, weighing scales, home veterinary kits with medication and muscle-gaining powder and breaking sticks, which are typically used to separate dogs during a fight.

One of Psaila's fighting dogs
One of Psaila’s fighting dogs

The RSPCA found Psaila had two pit bull-type dogs – called Ziggy and Tip – in his care and he subsequently admitted training both of the dogs to fight.

Psaila also admitted to training a dog called Cruise to fight. Although the dog was not found at either address, texts from his phone revealed plans to arrange a fight between Cruise and another unknown dog.

John Psaila

Footage of the dogs being trained on treadmills was found on the defendant’s mobile phone, said the RSPCA.

Other paraphernalia such as dog-fighting yearbooks and magazines, as well as a bucket and a sponge covered in blood were also discovered at a property belonging to Psaila.

John Psaila's pit bull tattoo
Psaila’s pit bull tattoo

The father-of-two, who has a pit bull tattooed across his back, winked at his daughter when he was jailed after admitting a series of crimes under the Animal Welfare Act.

Magistrates also ordered the destruction of two pit bull-type animals as they were considered too dangerous to spare.

Sentence: jailed for 121 days. Banned from keeping animals for life.

Manchester Evening News
BBC News

Accrington/ Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire: Darren and Callan Wheatcroft and Simon Whitworth

#TheList Darren Lee Wheatcroft, born 16/01/1967, of 83 Haywood Road, Accrington BB5 5AW, son Callan Nathan Wheatcroft, born 07/02/1993, of 3 Alliance Street, Accrington BB5 2RT, and their associate Simon Paul Whitworth, born 07/03/1971, of Ramsclough Farm, Haslingden Old Road, Oswaldtwistle BB5 3SN – for organised dog-fighting using ‘banned’ breeds

Dog fighters Callan Wheatcroft, Darren Wheatcroft, Simon Whitworth
L-R Callan Wheatcroft, Darren Wheatcroft, Simon Whitworth

RSPCA and police executed warrants at Haywood Road in Accrington and Ramsclough Farm Cottages on Haslingden Old Road in Oswaldtwistle in May 2014.

The RSPCA released images of some of the banned dogs seized from a vile Lancashire dogfighting ring
The RSPCA released images of some of the distressed and injured dogs seized from a vile Lancashire dog-fighting ring

Officers found five banned pitbull-type dogs, large collections of books and magazines relating to dog-fighting and treating dog injuries, veterinary equipment for treating animals involved in fights, treadmills, ceiling hooks and weighing scales.

At Ramsclough Farm, officers found two banned dogs, Dingo and Sheeba, in kennels at the back of farmhouses and found injuries on the left front leg of Sheeba.

The RSPCA also found evidence from phone texts and WhatsApp messages belonging to Darren Wheatcroft relating to attempting to organise an animal fight.

One message on Darren Wheatcroft’s phone from his son Callan said ‘so does he still have that killer 37/38 dog? Would you go for a grand with Dingo?’ to which he replied ‘Zulu hooked up’.

Darren Wheatcroft
Darren Wheatcroft

Darren Wheatcroft pleaded guilty to arranging a dog-fight to take place, keeping or training dogs for use in an animal fight and possessing three banned pitbull-type dogs.

Callan Wheatcroft
Callan Wheatcroft

His son Callan Wheatcroft pleaded guilty to keeping or training dogs for use in an animal fight and possessing three banned pitbull-type dogs.

Simon Whitworth
Simon Whitworth

Father-of-two Simon Whitworth – a company director – pleaded guilty to not ensuring the welfare of a animal, keeping or training dogs for use in an animal fight and possessing two banned pitbull terrier-type dogs.

Defending the trio, Simon Farnsworth of FMB Solicitors in Blackburn told the court that despite large amounts of evidence against them, there was nothing to prove they had carried out any dog-fights.

Dog fighting trio pictured outside court

District Judge James Clarke told Burnley Magistrates Court that he was ‘quite satisfied’ all the banned dogs and equipment were ‘being used for illegal dog-fighting’.

Sentencing, he said: “The centre of this case is that each of you, to varying degrees, together and separately, were involved in the ownership, training and care of prohibited animals.

“These dogs are illegal for a reason because they are dangerous, not only labelled dangerous by parliament but by their physical characteristics, their training, their selective breed and ability to cause significant physical injuries.

“You have willingly and knowingly involved yourself in an industry and endeavour that perpetuates cruelty to animals, the vindication of fighting to the death of animals and also the mistreatment of dogs.

“It’s something which you have invested significant amount of your own finances and no doubt considered the potential to make money out of the enterprise.

“This was deliberate offending over a period of time with little or no regard to the animals other than as sources of entertainment or for financial gain.”

Sentencing: Callan Wheatcroft and Simon Whitworth were given suspended 16-week jail sentences; Darren Wheatcroft was given a 20-week suspended sentence. All three were ordered to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work. Darren Wheatcroft and Whitworth were ordered to pay RSPCA costs of £15,000 each and Callan Wheatcroft was ordered to pay £10,000. All three men were banned from owning or keeping dogs for life.

Daily Mail

Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester: Alexander Walker

#TheList Alexander Walker, born 14/05/1977, of Cote Royd, Caroline Street, Ashton-under-Lyne OL6 6NT –  kept six fighting dogs in squalid mess next to bloodied corpse of another dog

Callous Alexander Walker  currently of Ashton-under-Lyne but with links to Prestwich and Bury
Callous Alexander Walker, foul conditions inside his filthy flat and one of the dogs found there

As the newspapers failed to follow-up in this case, we contacted Manchester & Salford Magistrates Court who kindly provided details of Walker’s sentence.

Earlier in 2014 Walker had pleaded guilty to causing unnecessary suffering and failing to care for his dogs after police caught him digging a grave for a dead dog in woods.

The bulldog called Major died after being savagely attacked in a park by another dog two days before the find

Walker kept three adult American Bulldogs and three puppies next to the wounded corpse at his home in Prestwich for two days.

After following Walker to his flat an inspector found the floor was filled with rubbish and needles. All of the animals had severe wounds from regular fights and excrement was caked into their paws.

The remains of a cannabis factory were also found, and the only food in the flat was a piece of cake next to Major’s corpse.

Although Walker had been warned he could be imprisoned for up to a year and fined up to £20,000 for the neglect, he received just two months in jail.

Sentence (Oct ’14): two months’ imprisonment. Disqualified from keeping any animal for life

Manchester Evening News
The Mirror

Pitsea, Basildon: Joanne Terry

#TheList backyard breeder Joanne Terry, born 03/07/1981, of 10 Winfields, Pitsea, Basildon SS13 1HQ – involved in dog-fighting, severe animal neglect, two dogs dead.

Convicted dog abuser Joanne Terry

Joanne Terry, formerly of Third Avenue, Dagenham, was convicted and banned for life from owning any animal after being found guilty of animal cruelty offences. One of the dogs was in such a poor condition that he had to be put to sleep.

Despite the appalling nature of her crimes, Terry escaped a prison sentence.

Barking and Dagenham’s Street Enforcement team visited Terry’s home on 1 October 2013 when neighbours raised concerns. There they found two dogs attacking a dead dog in the rear garden. That dog had been killed in a dog fight.

During the visit, the officers also found a litter of eight bulldog-type dogs. The officers were concerned about the welfare and condition of the puppies so applied for a warrant to seize the dogs.

On 4 October 2013, the officers, dog warden and police recovered the eight puppies. The officers heard whining and found two emaciated adult bulldogs and recovered them as well.

All adult dogs and puppies were examined by a local vet but the adult male was so badly neglected that he had to be put to sleep. Following the conviction, the court gave custody of the dogs to the Council for rehoming.

Sentence: eight-week suspended prison sentence, £380 fine for animal cruelty, life ban on owning any animal.

Barking and Dagenham Post