Billy’s Story The Horrific Side of Dog Theft
My name was Billy. I was a little crossbreed Terrier and lived with a lovely family, Mum, Dad and their children Becky and Ben in a little house just near Manchester.
They were not just family they were my best friends and my whole life. Then one day, when I was in the garden playing with my toys two men came through the gate.
They had some great-smelling treats and I went over to investigate. As I sniffed the treat they grabbed me and bundled me into a sack. I was taken to a white Van and tipped out the sack and pushed into a crate There were lots of other crates stacked up in the back and a number of other terrified dogs.
The vehicle stank of fear and urine; I was shaking with shock and confusion and whining for my family. They took me to a big garage piled high with cages and separated us up into isolation cages.
I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong to deserve this. I had always been a good dog, friendly with people and all other dogs so why had this happened and when can I go back to my family?
I had only a bucket of foul water and concrete to lie on, I was very hungry and afraid and missing my family terribly. On the third day, the same men came for me, I was grabbed roughly and put into a crate in the same van and they drove me to an old disused warehouse.
They put a chain around my neck and led me inside. It smelt of blood, fear, and faeces. it was incredibly noisy with men shouting, and laughing. My chain rattled constantly because my whole body was shaking so badly.
They took me to a small circular enclosure with an opening on one side and another on the other side. There were lots of men watching from the sidelines leaning their arms on the top of the enclosure that was about 4 feet high. At the other side of the enclosure in the open gap was, a terrifying-looking dog snarling and growling at me.
It had a muzzle and a check chain and a big fat man holding it back, I had nowhere to hide and was almost paralysed with fear. Then the man removed the muzzle and goaded the dog pointing at me.
The man holding me slipped off my chain and pushed me into the circle and put a wire mesh across the entrance so I could not get out.
Then to my horror, the fat man let the vicious-looking dog go and within two bounds it was on me. I felt the dog’s hot breath and me being picked up and the terrible pain, then blackness.
I now sit patiently at the Rainbow Bridge where all dogs that have died go to wait for their family.
Why do people do this, and why are pets like Billy who are made to suffer for people’s sadistic pleasure?
Recently a man from Durham was arrested with over forty dogs in the back of a van that had all been stolen.
The van was stopped on the M6 The vehicle was intercepted after reports of a man loading dogs into a van in Gloucestershire.
Please sign and share my petition on dog theft not just for Billy’s sake but for all the other dog’s sakes that are either used as bait or to sell for profit, breeding, or ransom. Let’s make dog theft a far more serious crime than it is at present. (1) Dog Theft Petition
Though not all dogs are stolen to be bait there is a percentage that fuels the horrific so-called sport of dog fighting. There should be a mandatory 5 years prison sentence for anyone involved in this evil so-called sport.
How people can get pleasure from watching two dogs rip each other to pieces is beyond my comprehension. Creating a law specifically for dog and pet theft with harsh sentences will make these mindless thugs think twice about stealing people’s family members because that is what they are.
Dogs are not commodities they are thinking, feeling animals and an integral part of the family. Read my article (2) The Dramatic Rise in Dog Thefts which has information on why dog theft happens and advice on how to keep your pets safe.
I need to point out that Billy was not my dog. I heard about his fate a few years back whilst researching the upsurge of dogfighting in the UK, and decided to add it to my petition to change the antiquated laws on dog theft. The Theft Act of 1968 badly needs overhauling. and is totally out of date in today’s world.
The owners were informed by a friend who found out what happened. Billy was used as bait to get the dogs wound up in preparation for a major dog fight. Billy had no chance of defending himself.
The problem is these gangs of dog fighters are very violent and aggressive. People are afraid to confront them. In some countries, Dog Fighting is a national sport. I have had to change the parents and children’s names because of their fear of backlash and violence from the people that snatched Billy. People live in fear of these horrendous people.
I believe an automatic jail sentence of 2 years without early release and a ten thousand pound fine should be the minimum sentence for a first offender for whatever reason they stole the dog. If it can be proved they were involved with dog fighting then that should be 5 years.
The horrific crime of dog theft has long-lasting emotional consequences. It is a crime against the family and the dog. It is not about the value of the pet it is about the deep emotional ties we have with them and what they have for us. I also want the law changed to class pets as sentient animals.
It is also a crime against an animal that has feelings and emotions, if we are sentient animals then why are our pets not classed the same? That is why I am also campaigning for our pets to be classed as Sentient. The literal definition of sentient is simply “able to perceive or feel things”.However, sentience also means that animals can feel emotions very similar to humans such as pain, loss, sorrow, happiness, despair and joy.
Dogs and Cats are currently perceived under law as belongings under the outdated Theft Act of 1968. The average fine is £250 and very few people are caught as dog theft is considered petty. There is nothing petty about someone stealing a family pet it is devastating. and ruins people’s and dogs’ lives.
UPDATE: The Government has now stated that certain animals including Dogs and cats will be classed as sentient and sentencing for dog theft will rise dramatically. Unfortunately, all they appear to have done is announce it, not when will it be enshrined in law and what will be the penalties.
Dog theft has risen dramatically every single year and yet we have nothing to deter them. we need to push them and push them hard that is why the campaign currently has 541.234 signatures and we need more please share in all your social media outlets.
©Stan Rawlinson 2020
Dog Behaviourist, Author and Expert Witness
Updated September 2002