AN Ayrshire man who kept two illegal pit bull terrier type dogs for fighting has been jailed for eight months following a Scottish SPCA investigation.

Tony Barbara, 51, of High Street, Newmilns, was also banned from owning a dog for life when he was sentenced at Kilmarnock Sheriff Court today (September, 21).

Barbara was previously found guilty of possessing two pit bull terrier type dogs, a banned breed in the UK, contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

He was also convicted of keeping the dogs for the purposes of a dog fight, causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs by inflicting continuous injury through dog fighting and being in possession of equipment designed or adapted for use at an animal fight.

In addition, Barbara was found guilty of breaching a 10 year ban on keeping dogs imposed in 2013.

Commenting on the investigation and court case, an undercover inspector said, “We welcome this result as investigations of this nature are extremely difficult to detect.

“It is our view that Barbara was heavily involved in organised dog fighting. Both dogs had multiple puncture wounds and scarring over their bodies.

“Barbara caused his dogs to suffer greatly by involving them in fighting and not taking them to a vet in order to avoid detection. Instead, he resorted to self-medicating them.

“With assistance from Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture, DNA forensic testing was carried out on dog fighting paraphernalia and veterinary medications and we wish to thank Dr. Lucy Webster for her expertise and assistance.

“We hope this result will send out a message that the barbaric and criminal activity of dog fighting is a priority of the Scottish SPCA and will not be tolerated.

 “We would welcome any information to help us to identify individuals who are involved in the world of dog fighting.

“Information is received in the strictest confidence and can be given anonymously.”

Anyone with information should contact the Scottish SPCA helpline on 03000 999 999.