ANIMAL welfare investigators have launched a Scotland-wide crackdown on dog-fighting and badger-baiting rings.
The Scottish SPCA is seeking assistance from the public due to the secretive nature of the crimes it has described as “barbaric and cruel beyond belief”.
Dog fighting remains a problem in the North-east, although the charity says badger-baiting is not to the same extent.
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Many people will be shocked that these sickening activities are still going on in Scotland.
“Our Special Investigations Unit gathers intelligence on all forms of animal fighting and over the last 18 months our investigations have led to criminal convictions and prison sentences.
“This sends a strong message that we’re determined to pursue those involved in these crimes.
“Dog fighters and badger baiters are extremely secretive about their activities and don’t tend to take their dogs out in public as people would be alarmed by their injuries and scars.
“Rather than take their dogs to a vet, they will often be treated at home.
“While these crimes are taking place throughout the country, we have received intelligence that dog fighting rings are operating in Grampian.”
Mr Flynn added that what they needed now was further information to help them identify the people involved and to save animals from horrific abuse.
Anyone who can help should call the charity’s animal helpline on 03000 999 999. All calls are in strict confidence and can be made anonymously.”
In September last year, Aberdeenshire brothers Colin and David Reid, from Macduff and Banff respectively, became the first to be convicted of animal fighting under 2006 animal health and welfare regulations in Scotland.