An illegal dog-fighting ring on which tens of thousands of euros are regularly being staked is currently believed to be operating in the South East.

The highly organised ring is understood to hold regular vicious and bloody dog fights at predominantly rural locations in counties Waterford, Kilkenny and South Tipperary, often with bets on the outcome running to over €20,000.

Animal rights activists have recently discovered a number of maimed greyhounds which they believe were used to ‘bait’ the fighting dogs, usually Staffordshire or Pit Bull terriers. Gardai in South Tipperary are investigating the discovery of two mutiliated greyhounds in the Clonmel area in recent weeks which, it is believed, were used to give the fighting dogs a taste for blood and some practice in fighting. Tamer animals such as greyhounds tend to be used as ‘bait’ because they are gentle by nature and unlikely to fight back and injure the fighting dog.

Too gruesome for publication

Mark Hickey of the TSPCA said one of the dogs had been torn open from its rib cage to its groin but was still alive when it was found. The animal had to be put down by a vet because of its injuries. The other animal had up to 80 puncture wounds, consistent with being repeatedly attacked by a fighting dog and died of shock before it could be brought to a vet. Pictures of the mutilated greyhounds, seen by The Munster Express, were deemed too gruesome for publication.

Given the regular discovery of injured and near-dead ‘bait’ dogs, Mr Hickey believes an organised dog-fighting ring is operating in the locality on a frequent basis. These fights go on until one of the animals is dead, with injured animals rarely brought to a vet in case suspicion is aroused.

The ISPCA has urged the public to contact the gardai if they are suspicious of any activity which might suggest dog-fighting is taking place in the area.