Dog fighting enthusiast jailed

One of John Psaila's pitbulls
One of John Psaila's pitbulls

A WIGAN dog fighting enthusiast has been jailed.

John Psaila admitted training illegally-owned pitbull terriers for organised dog fights following an extensive RSPCA investigation costing more than £21,000.

Among the telltale items recovered by inspectors at the 49-year-old’s Abram home were adapted treadmills, weighing scales, veterinary kit, breaking sticks for prising fighting dogs apart and a captive bolt gun for killing wounded animals.

A top RSPCA inspector described the case as among the worst he had ever seen.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how Psaila was actively involved in a “highly organised tight-knit fraternity” which organised fights between pitbull terriers.

Tony Stock, prosecuting, told how the defendant owned two fighting dogs - named Ziggy and Tip.

He sold on a third, named Cruise, during the course of the investigation.

Veterinary experts reported that injuries and scarring sustained by Ziggy were consistent with dog fights “of significant duration”.

Mr Stock also told how items recovered from the defendant’s Thornvale home proved that he was “intrinsically bound up in dog fighting”.

Damning text messages recovered from the defendant’s mobile phone included one reply which read: “Yeah - I remember she quit. A good mouth but no heart.”

In interview, Psaila initially denied any involvement in dog fighting.

However he subsequently pleaded guilty to 14 offences before Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

Claire Parrot, defending, claimed her client had been breeding pitbulls since the 1980s but had only recently moved into dog fighting out of “financial desperation”.

She added that the telltale text messages were “few and far between” and asked for Psaila to be given credit for his early guilty pleas.

Magistrates jailed Psaila for 121 days and banned him from owning or keeping animals for life.

They also ordered him to pay £520 costs and an £80 victim surcharge and ordered for Ziggy and Tip to be destroyed.