As part of my veterinary degree, I completed a research project investigating the reporting of suspicions of illegal dog fighting by veterinary staff to the police and welfare charities and the factors that influenced their likelihood to report suspicions, with assistance from my co-authors Siobhan Abeyesinghe and Martin Whiting.
It may not sound like an exciting read, but it’s very important I think. Dog fighting is an ever present problem which has persisted over 180 years past it being outlawed; it relies on the physical and mental abuse of dogs and “bait animals” (animals caught and stolen for use during training), whilst also being associated with drugs, crime and violence by the offenders (Harding and Nurse 2015). Now many people have said to me that they don’t believe dogs used in this way will ever make it to a vet, and that would be the intuitive thought, but the literature disagrees.
You can read my letter to the Veterinary Record (a big veterinary journal online and in magazine form) regarding my survey and illegal dog fighting here (published in the 10th September 2016 issue) and you can read the peer-reviewed paper itself here! It was published online in October 2018 and a summary version of it also featured in the paper copy of the Vet Record the week of the 8th of November (vol 183-18).
Pleasingly, following the press release by the Royal Veterinary College, it also got picked up by a number of journalists:
Check out the latest news and the highlights from my research on my twitter feed:
New, currently free to read+download on @Vet_Record + in print 8th Nov https://t.co/h0oyCBDUGY 14.4% UK vets+RVNs suspected ≥1 case illegal dog fight in 2015 but only ~half reported ever=work needed to tackle underreporting #supporttoreport @theRCVS @bvnauk
— Kate (@katemilroy_vet) October 27, 2018