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Barbaric dog fighting 'still rife' in region, says RSPCA

The new owners of a Staffie who was saved from a dog fighting camp in Hertfordshire have joined an animal charity in condemning the barbaric sport.

The RSPCA says the crime is still far too common - with nearly 850 reports made to them between 2015 and 2018 in the Anglia region alone.

Nationally, the charity received almost 8,000 complaints - and fears the true scale of the problem could be even worse.

"It’s still staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years - a bloody pastime which most people would consider consigned to history - is still so rife.”

– Mike Butcher, RSPCA dog fighting expert
Kali was found covered in scars and open wounds Credit: RSPCA

Kali was one of the lucky ones. She was found covered in scars and wounds in Hertfordshire.

An RSPCA investigation found her owner, Neil Forrest, had set up a training camp at his home in Aspenden. Officers discovered injured dogs, including some banned breeds, chains and a treadmill.

He was jailed for 24 weeks in 2018 after admit animal welfare offences. Forrest was also banned from keeping animals for life.

Kali has since been rehabilitated and re-homed with Owen Gray and Georgina Arnold.

This is Kali today - happy and safe in Cambridgeshire Credit: ITV News Anglia

"We love her so much, we couldn’t be without her now.

"I couldn’t believe it when I found out the life she’d had before. The whole experience for her must have been so frightening.

"She has scars and is missing teeth so she has been through a lot. But she is so kind, she is like a teddy bear, there’s not a bad bone in her body. I’m just glad that she’s safe now and she’ll never have to know fear or cruelty again."

– Georgina Arnold, Kali's new owner
Owen Gray and Georgina Arnold took Kali in after her ordeal Credit: ITV News Anglia

They said Kali was lucky to have been found when she was.

According to the RSPCA, many other dogs are abandoned or killed by their original owners.

The charity wants punishments for people involved in dog fighting to be increased and is calling on the public to report any signs that the crime is taking place near them.

  • The RSPCA's 24-hour cruelty line is 0300 1234 999