Three men arrested under suspicion of organising dog fights in southern Finland

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

File:240-dogFighting.jpg
File photo of two dogs fighting

Three Finnish men have been arrested as part of an investigation by the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into apparent illegal dogfights in various locations in the south of the country.

Dog fights, in which two dogs are pitted head-to-head for the entertainment of spectators and for gambling, is illegal in Finland, and is covered by Finland's animal protection laws, as dogs often sustain severe or even fatal injuries. It is believed this case also involved gambling, thus rendering the suspects, if convicted, in breach of gambling laws also.

The investigation was started in July after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) forwarded information to the NBI, claiming that during an investigation of its own for a programme it was making into dog fighting in the United Kingdom, they had uncovered connections to comparable activity in Finland.

"We are trying to find out when the activity has started and how widespread it has been. Apparently, just a small gang of people has been involved." said Detective Chief Inspector Göran Wennqvist, adding that "We are now trying to find out whether or not this is part of a larger international organisation or just local criminal activity."

It is believed the dogs went through training fights to test if they were suitable for fighting prior to actual events. A number of animals thought to have been used for fighting have been examined by a veterinarian to determine the types of injuries sustained by the dogs.

Despite the fact that dog fighting is known to have occurred in various countries - including countries close to Finland, such as Sweden, Norway, and Russia - neither the police or the Finnish Kennel Club were aware of any previous incidents occurring in Finland, although chairman of the board of the Finnish Kennel Club Martti Mannersuo told reporters that he recalled a rumour "many years ago" of domestic dog fights occurring in Finland, although this went unconfirmed. Wennqvist, however, independently told YLE "In other Nordic countries, they have seen incidents of dog fighting since the 90's, but I haven't come across any cases in Finland in 32 years," although it is unclear if this was a confirmed case or if it were linked to the rumour Mannersuo had reported.

Sources

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