Four people were arrested today and 17 dogs seized following warrants executed across Teignbridge.
The special operations unit for the RSPCA and officers from Devon and Cornwall Police assisted by Environmental Health and Trading Standards executed warrants under the Animal Welfare Act at five addresses this morning.
The four men arrested are currently awaiting interview. A large quantity of property was and 17 dogs were seized.
Tactical Commander Sergeant Mark Ruston said: “This morning has demonstrated the effectiveness of the RSPCA and Police working together with partner agencies to disrupt suspected organised crime, to detect welfare offences and to prevent animal cruelty.
“This goes far beyond hunting or poaching; it is about us collectively targeting those who choose to use animals against animals for their own gratification, without thought of injury to their own animals, or the animals they are targeting.
“We will continue to work closely with residents and partner agencies to develop further intelligence to prevent these offences occurring in our rural communities, and to bring offenders to justice.”
Chief Inspector Ian Briggs from the RSPCA added: “The RSPCA takes any allegation that dogs have been used to hunt and fight wild animals extremely seriously. Officers from the RSPCA’s special operations unit have worked closely with officers at Devon and Cornwall Police, and will continue to do so throughout this investigation.”
Anyone who suspects illegal activity involving the use of dogs to fight wildlife can report it to the RSPCA by calling 0300 1234 999 or to the police on 101.