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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2008, 12:20 GMT 13:20 UK
Dog fighting reports rise
Pit bull
The pit bull is one of the breeds banned by the Dangerous Dogs Act
There has been a large increase in the number of dog fights being reported to the police and the RSPCA.

The number of reported dog fights went up from 24 in 2004 to 358 last year - that's 15 times in three years.

The RSPCA wants more action against what it calls irresponsible owners and says dogs should be micro-chipped and some neutered.

Since 1991, it has been against the law to advertise, breed or sell four breeds of dangerous dog - pit bull, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileira and Japanese Tosa.

Status symbol

The government says existing laws are tough enough.

Gary works at an RSPCA centre in Swansea.

He thinks people are increasingly getting dogs like Staffordshire bull terriers to use as status symbols - then dumping them when they realise they're a lot of hard work.

In the end they had to call the armed response unit out
Mike Ebberson's describes an attack on his dog

"That type of dog - they're obviously more muscular and the larger breeds are going to cause more damage," he said.

The RSPCA thinks that in extreme cases these breeds are being used as weapons.

'Legal weapon'

Mike Ebberson's pet Millie was set upon.

He said: "She was crying and crying. When the police finally came they tried a fire extinguisher but the main aggressive dog was still attacking.

"So in the end they had to call the armed response unit out."

The problem seems to be worst among gangs in inner city areas. Last year Newsbeat spoke to a man in north London.

He said: "They're basically a legal weapon - they can do as much damage as a firearm but they're legal. That's the best thing about them."

I think it's the owners that need to be punished if dogs actually become dangerous
Dog owner Paul

However, some dog owners are angry about the negative press their pets receive.

Paul from Bedford told Newsbeat: "I own a Staffordshire bull terrier cross. I'm sick and tired of the fact that people think she's dangerous just because she's a Staffordshire bull terrier.

"She's incredibly friendly and passive. I think it's the owners that need to be punished if dogs actually become dangerous."



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