Pit bull owner linked to dog fighting jailed

A tattooist who owned five banned pit bull terriers and was involved in dog fighting has been jailed for six months.

After a three-day trial last month, 44-year-old David Braddon of Glyn Llwyfen, Llanbradach, Caerphilly, was found guilty of keeping or training a dog for use in connection with animal fighting, guilty of having articles for use in connection with animal fighting and guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

The father of five also admitted five charges of possessing a banned breed. Jailing him yesterday magistrates in Caerphilly also disqualified him from keeping or owning an animal for 15 years and directed that he cannot reply for review of that order for 10 years.

They also ordered that two of the dogs be destroyed – three of Braddon’s dogs having been put down previously.

Braddon was ordered to pay costs of pounds 1,000 and refused bail pending an appeal of the convictions.

Presiding magistrate Kathleen Starr said: “These charges are so serious only a custodial sentence can be considered.”

The court heard that the costs of the case involving two of the dogs came to pounds 36,781.

Braddon’s defence counsel Clive Rees said his client wanted to stress that he didn’t believe there had been any kind of conspiracy by the RSPCA and others against him.

“While disagreeing with the guilty verdicts he felt he had a fair hearing,” Mr Rees said.

Mr Rees said Braddon had never been a prominent figure in the dog fighting world and he had no interest in having dogs in the future.

“He was not convicted of being involved in actual dog fighting,” he said.

Prosecutor Nicholas Sutton said that on March 17, 2009, RSPCA inspectors and the police executed a search warrant at Braddon’s home, where they found five pit bull dogs, four of them being kept in a “sophisticated kennel system”.

Two of them, it was claimed, had scarring consistent with having been involved in fighting.

The RSPCA officers also found dog fighting paraphernalia including two treadmills to exercise the animals.

His refrigerator also contained animal antibiotics normally only available to a vet.

They also discovered a set of weighing scales for use when the dogs were being weighed in and various books on pit bulls and dog fighting including a manual entitled “Dogs of Velvet and Steel” which was known as the dog fighters’ bible. One dog called Otis was famous and featured as having won two fights which was recorded in the pit bull year book 2008.

That dog had 42 separate scars and another dog had 21 scars, the court heard.

An expert witness, Alyson Robson, said such dogs “were incredibly strong” could kill babies and small children and could do serious damage to an adult.”

Braddon was found not guilty of four charges of keeping or training dogs for use in connection with fighting and not guilty of one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a dog.

Chief Inspector Mike Butcher of the RSPCA said the case represented a major breakthrough.

He claimed that Braddon was a major figure among the British dog fighting community.

Dog fighting, he said, was banned in Britain as long ago as 1835 and involved “barbaric acts of animal cruelty”.