Dumfries man given 15 year ban for dog fighting following Scottish SPCA investigation

A man who trained his three dogs to viciously fight each other has been banned from owning a dog for 15 years following an investigation by the Scottish SPCA.

Patterson 1

26-year old 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 of Eastfield Road, Dumfries was sentenced at Dumfries Sheriff Court on 28 August.  He pled 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 was served the ban as well as a 300 hour community payback order and a 7pm – 7am restriction of liberty order to last 162 days.

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

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.

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.

Dog fight

“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.”

Dog fight (1)

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.”

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