A man turned a terrace house into a training centre for vicious fighting dogs using a treadmill and muscle-building tablets to build their strength.
Police found the nine illegal, unlicensed pit bull terriers chained up around the home used by Nasar Khan in July Street, Blackburn, after one escaped and began roaming the street.
District Judge Peter Ward heard that the dogs were so vicious that after they were seized by police one of the animals escaped from his cage in the back of a van on the way to kennels and mauled another so badly it had to be put down.
Two more of the dogs have since had to be put down after breaking free of their cages at the kennels and fighting.
The house, which was owned by Khan’s family, had been completely cleared of furniture and the treadmill had been specially adapted so a dog’s collar could be attached, forcing the animal to run, Hyndburn magistrates were told.
Khan, 25, who lived in another property in July Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to eight charges of owning fighting dogs and one of allowing one of the dogs to be in a public place without a muzzle or lead.
He has been warned that he faces jail when he is sentenced next month.
Khan, who is unemployed, said that he was not training the dogs for fighting but was “fascinated” by them and wanted them to grow “big and muscular”.
But the prosecution disputed this and Judge Ward said: “It seems to me that these are dogs that have been prepared for fighting and have been involved in some fighting. It is a very serious matter.”
Speaking after the hearing Det Insp Paul Withers said that it is thought that the find of the nine fighting dogs was an “isolated incident” in Blackburn and no evidence of a dog fighting ring in the town has been uncovered.
RSPCA spokesperson Sophie Corless said: “Sadly, large numbers of pit bull types are still being kept for the wrong reasons – either as a macho status symbols or for the purpose of organised dogfighting.
“Either way, the dogs’ welfare is unnecessarily put at great risk by their owners.
“It is a brutal crime.”
The six remaining dogs have now been ordered to be put down after it was revealed that kennelling costs have reached more than £14,500 since they were seized in January.
Isla Chilton, prosecuting, said: “Inside the house was a violent scene and there was blood splattered everywhere.
“There was no furniture and no lighting. It was just full of caged and chained dogs with a treadmill.
“There was a range of muscle-building tablets and powder found there.
“It is clear that these dogs had been trained to fight, a number of these dogs had relatively fresh scars on them. They are clearly not pets.
“The treadmill had a clip for the dogs’ collars which forced them to run, keeping them as fit as possible for fighting.
“These were not normal pit bulls. They were very aggressive and very dangerous.”
After police discovered the animals, which are banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, a dog warden was called and they were taken to a kennel, Ms Chilton said.
She said that when Khan discovered the animals had been taken away he found out where they where and telephoned leaving all of his details.
Aftab Bakhat, defending, said that Khan was “an extremely stupid man” and did not realise that what he was doing was illegal.
He said: “If ever there is evidence that these dogs are dangerous it is shown by the way they have attacked each other when they have been seized.”
But he added: “He says that these dogs were not bred or raised for fighting.”