DOG-FIGHTING is on the rise in Waltham Forest and the authorities are struggling to cope, according to the council's only animal warden.
The police, RSPCA and politicians all agreed Waltham Forest had a problem with dog fighting at a Walthamstow Safer Streets Association meeting in the Asian Centre, Orford Road, Walthamstow.
Waltham Forest Council’s animal warden, Wayne Brown said: “It is related to gangs and drugs but it’s mainly as a fun activity.
“These people are doing it because they get enjoyment out of it in their sick way.”
Leyton was identified as a hotspot but dog-fighting goes on across the borough and in parks, including Hollow Ponds, Stoneydown Park and Thomas Gamuel Park.
Visiting RSPCA dangerous dog expert, chief inspector Jan Eachus, said: “In this area there’s a lot of problems with dangerous dogs.
“There are more incidents of fights than there were in 1991, when dangerous dogs legislation was passed.”
He recommended a scheme called Borough Action Responsible Canines (BARC), which was launched in Barnet in 1991.
BARC educates people on how to look after their dogs and help prosecute those who deliberately mistrain and fight them.
Mr Eachus said: "The local authority and the RSPCA are 100 per cent behind it because something needs to be done.”
But Mr Brown said he had been unsucessfully asking for the scheme for three and half years.
He said: “I’m drowning, I’m absolutely over-run."
Mr Brown and RSPCA officer, Dawn Avery, said they had gathered a huge amount of intelligence but lacked the back-up to effectively deal with it.
Ms Avery said: “We’ve got a very good knowledge of who’s responsible. I know it (BARC) would be sucessful because I know the characters involved. I’d like to turn up at their doors with lots of friends.”
She said dogs were fighting in parks but it was also happening in houses in ordinary streets where the dogs were being bred.
Residents called for the scheme to be funded.
WSSA chairman, Roger Carter said: “It’s only when someone gets hurt that something will get done."
A dog got ripped apart the other week, it’s going to be a child next.”
The last 12 months have seen a number of horrific dog cruelty cases, almost certainly linked to illegal dog-fighting, in the Waltham Forest area.
Last August a wounded and malnourished female bull terrier was found in a block of flats in Montague Road, Leytonstone.
In January a nine-week old bull terrier puppy was starved to death before being mutiliated and dumped in a communal garden in Neville Close, Leytonstone.
Another bull terrier was found starved to death in Sheridan Road, Leytonstone, on the same day.
In May, an emaciated dog was found dumped in a pile of rubbish, in Dunedin Road, Leyton.