Man jailed in dogfighting case


Published: Tuesday 24th February 2015 by The News Editor

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A man thought to be a major figure in British dogfighting has been jailed for 121 days and banned from keeping animals for life.

RSPCA officers uncovered what was in effect a training school for pit bull terrier-type dogs at the Wigan home of John Psaila.

The 49-year-old, of Thornvale, Abram, was sentenced at Wigan Magistrates’ Court after he admitted 14 allegations including training dogs for the purpose of fighting, possession of equipment designed or adapted for use in dogfighting and possession of pit bull terrier-type dogs.

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

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 last year.

They were acting on information that he was involved in organised dogfighting 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.

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.

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

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

Chief inspector Ian Briggs, of the RSPCA’s special operations unit, said: “John Psaila appears to be a big player in the dogfighting world judging by the evidence we found during our investigation. When he was interviewed he admitted he’d had an interest in pit bull terriers since the 1980s.

“To have successfully obtained convictions against him is a huge breakthrough in our ongoing battle to bring dogfighters to justice and prevent more animals from suffering at the hands of people like him.

“Dogfighting is one of the most brutal, extreme and premeditated forms of animal cruelty. Hopefully this case will provide fresh information that will lead us to other dogfighters who think they are above the law.”

Published: Tuesday 24th February 2015 by The News Editor

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