Page last updated at 16:55 GMT, Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Man jailed in dog fighting case

Liaquat Ali and one of his dogs
Ali was also banned from owning dogs for life

A 40-year-old man has been jailed for six months for arranging dog fights in what the RSPCA has described as a landmark case.

Liaquat Ali, of Accrington, Lancashire, was convicted of keeping a premise for the purposes of dog fighting and causing two animals to fight.

The RSPCA said it was the first time it had secured a conviction on the charges under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Ali also admitted causing unnecessary suffering to a pit bull-type dog.

Officers from the RSPCA and Lancashire Constabulary searched two properties owned or rented by Ali in June 2007.

At one of them, on Richmond Road, Blackburn, an emaciated dog called Enzo was found locked in a wooden box with no food or water.

At the other, a flat on Blackburn Road, Accrington, officers found blood on the walls which forensic tests showed came from more than one dog.

Liaquat Ali had footage of dog fights on his mobile phone

Two video clips of dog fights were also found on his mobile phone.

A further two warrants were executed in March 2008, during which the other two pit bull-type dogs were found.

Ali also pleaded guilty at Hyndburn Magistrates' Court to possession of two pit bulls, contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act, recovered from those addresses.

Pit Bulls are one of four breeds banned under the 1991 act. Anyone who does possess a banned breed requires a special licence, an RSPCA spokeswoman said.

Lancashire Police said they hoped the conviction would send a clear message to those in the north of England who still pursued dog fighting as a sport.

RSPCA chief inspector Ian Briggs said: "We can only imagine how many dogs have suffered at the hands of Mr Ali and his friends, and the kind of things they've had to endure at a premise kept by him for that very purpose.

"We've never brought a prosecution on these specific allegations before under the new legislation, but the evidence against Mr Ali was overwhelming.

"This is a landmark case and we're very pleased with the magistrate's ruling."

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