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New study links violent crime with dangerous dog trade

The study found evidence of dog sharing in gangs leading to animals becoming more aggressive as they are frequently abused by different owners.

Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

A NEW STUDY has found a link between violent crime and the trade for dogs on Britain’s streets.

The three year study from Middlesex University included over 100 interviews, many with dangerous dog owners and several gang members found evidence of animals changing hands for up to £10,000 each.

Criminologist and author of the study Simon Harding found that the dogs are being bought and bred for money and credibility. While status and protection were obviously key reasons for keeping the dogs, Harding said he was “surprised” to find that the primary motivation was often making money by breeding and selling the most aggressive animals.

Harding found that a litter of six dogs can bring in £1,000 and prize pitbulls can fetch as much as £10,000. Big profits were available through unregulated and ad-hoc breeding, leading to a new generation of dangerous dogs selected for their most aggressive characteristics.

Dogs were then sold for use in criminal activity, protecting illegal business transactions and street drug dealing and he also found a link between owners of status dogs and owners having previous criminal convictions.

The research found evidence of the sharing of dangerous dogs between a number of people which led to the animals becoming more aggressive as they are frequently mistreated by a wide group of owners and have no single ‘master’.

Harding said he was motivated to carry out this research following the dog-related death of 16-year-old Seyi Ogunyemi in a gang attack in London in 2009.

“This issue has been talked about extensively without resolution,” he said. “The government and authorities need to get their fingers out and resolve the issue. No more excuses, more needs to be done proactively and we can’t just wait for more victims of aggressive dog attacks.”

He said the increased “commoditisation” of dogs has now led to more backstreet breeding ans more aggressive dogs berd specifically to seek out aggressive characteristics.

Read: Teenage girl found dead in house with ‘out of control’ dogs>

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