A dog fight trainer in South Australia pleaded guilty to multiple charges of organizing and participating in dog fight training while using abhorrent techniques including shock collars, chains with weights and treadmills. Benn Christopher Hamilton, 39, pleaded guilty at Adelaide Magistrates Court and has been sentenced to seven months in prison in addition to the five-year, four month sentence he is presently serving for drug offenses.
According to AbcNews, RSPCA inspectors seized six of his American Staffordshire terriers found chained in Hamilton’s backyard in August 2016. The dogs suffered from broken teeth, fresh bite marks and scars all over their bodies. Veterinarians stated the bites and scars had been consistent with dog fighting. Tragically, the dogs were reported to have been so reactive, they were not able to cope, and the decision was made to humanely euthanize them.
In addition to the shock collars and other physical training equipment, injectable steroids, anesthetics and prescription drugs were found as well as dog fighting books and instructional videos. Marie Shaw, the attorney representing the RSPCA called Hamilton’s treatment of the dogs “abhorrent.”
“Dogs are often called man’s best friend and they rely on humans to feed them, house them and treat them well,” Ms. Shaw explained. “True it is that animals, and dogs in particular, can serve man in many ways so long as they are treated humanely and fairly. They do not deserve having man train them for entertainment and financial gain at the risk of injury and mortality.”
Hamilton’s lawyer told the court his client was remorseful and grieved over his dogs having been euthanized. The judge didn’t seem moved; extending Hamilton’s non-parole period to two years and seven months and ordering he be banned from owning any pets indefinitely. The RSPCA is seeking $35,000 for costs and compensation. That has been adjourned until June.
Hamilton is the first South Australian ever charged over dog fighting. The struggle to protect our dogs continues.
(Photos of Hamilton’s dogs with shock collars via Instagram)
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