WITH regard to the disturbing article entitled “Bloody Awful” (The Argus, April 12), revealing the shocking number of dogs trained to fight.

Dog fighting as a “sport” was banned in 1835, as even then, it was considered barbaric. Yet, this horrific form of dog abuse continues, meaning dog fighting remains a significant animal welfare issue in the UK.

Does anyone doubt the brutality of dog fighting?

Forced to fight for their lives, time and time again, these dogs inhabit a truly savage environment.

Training regimes involve slamming their heads and bodies against walls to toughen them up.

They are forced to run on treadmills and hang on weights.

Their fights deliver appalling injuries, and many lose their life in the ring or shortly after from their injuries.

Those too injured to fight again are violently killed, and those that can are patched up with homemade veterinary kits.

There are no kind words or deeds for the animals trapped in the world of dog fighting.

It is one of the most horrific forms of organised animal cruelty, not only for the violence the dogs endure during their fights but because of the trauma they suffer throughout their lives.

The League Against Cruel Sports has been calling for several changes to ensure that dog fighting is taken seriously as a crime in the United Kingdom.

These include a stronger legislative environment to tackle dog fighting, which treats it as a distinct crime, attracts more robust penalties, prevents its promotion and ensures animal abusers cannot keep animals in future.

The replacement of breed specific legislation with a system focusing on “deed not breed”, as all dogs can be forced to fight, it is the owners’ behaviour that is the determining factor.

Strengthen border controls and pet transport rules to prevent the cross-border movement of dogs for fighting.

I say give the police and law enforcement agencies more powers to tackle dog fighting, by having it treated more seriously and recognising it as a “gateway” crime.

David Hammond, North Court, Hassocks