Hertfordshire is a hotspot for dog fighting, the RSPCA has revealed.

Hertfordshire is in the top three dog fighting hotspots in the East of England since 2019, the RSPCA said, with 17 incidents investigated by the animal charity, including five last year.

Essex takes the top spot, with 29 incidents investigated by the RSPCA since 2019.

Dog fighting was outlawed in England in 1835.


"It’s staggering that something which has been illegal for almost 200 years, which most people would consider consigned to history, is still so rife," said Ian Muttitt, the animal charity's dog fighting expert and Special Operations Unit chief inspector.

The RSPCA is the country’s leading organisation tackling dog fighting by investigating reports, rescuing dogs and prosecuting perpetrators.

Sadly, many of the dogs used by dog fighters are never found and those who are rescued are often found to be banned breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act and cannot legally be rehomed. 

Ian said: "The dog fighting world is a dark and secretive place. It could be happening in an inner-city warehouse next door to your office or on a rural farm in your quiet village. 


"Signs of dog fighting can vary, but if you notice a dog with lots of scars on its face, front legs, hind legs and thighs, or with puncture wounds and mangled ears, this could be a sign of dog fighting and should be reported to the RSPCA or the police. Other suspicious activity includes dogs being hidden away in outbuildings or kennels out of sight and not excercised in public.

"Dogs who win fights are prized and are often treated like kings, but those who refuse to fight, or lose, are often abandoned or barbarically killed.

"Overall, dog fighting in England and Wales has increased since 2019, jumping from 232 incidents investigated by the RSPCA in 2019 to 355 in 2022."

The RSPCA is urging people to be their eyes and ears and to report anything suspicious to them. Anyone who is concerned about the welfare of an animal, or suspects dog fighting may be taking place, can call the RSPCA's animal cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.