RSPCA: Dog fighter receives life ban on keeping dogs

Father and son jailed for organised cruelty

A father and son from Oxfordshire who admitted training dogs for organised fights have been jailed and banned from keeping dogs following a major RSPCA investigation.

Ian Draper was banned from keeping dogs for life after he admitted breaching his previous 10-year ban that was handed down by the courts in May 2005. He was today (20.10.11) also sentenced to a total of 20 weeks in prison.

His son Danny Draper was banned from keeping dogs for 15 years and jailed for a total of 12 weeks after he had also admitted training dogs for fights, using equipment such as treadmills, weighted collars and rudimentary veterinary equipment found at his former home on Butterworth Street, Swindon.

Covert RSPCA inspectors also discovered shocking footage of dog fighting when they searched the address in April 2010.

The investigation was led by the RSPCA’s special operations unit, which is tasked with fighting organised animal crime. The unit’s chief inspector Mike Butcher hailed the success of this latest case, but warned the battle to clamp down on organised dog fighting will continue.

He said: “A lot of people describe dog fighting as a sport, but there is nothing sporting in watching two dogs being made to tear each other apart.

“Most people don’t even realise that dog fighting still happens in this day and age but, more than 170 years since it was outlawed, there are still people who persist in causing untold suffering to animals in this way.

“We are obviously pleased to see these men successfully through the court, but Ian and Danny Draper are not the first people to be sentenced for dog fighting, and sadly they won’t be the last.”

Ian Draper, 47, of Sylvester Close, Burford, Oxfordshire, was in the middle of a 10-year ban on keeping dogs when RSPCA inspectors and police discovered dogs at his home in December 2009. As well as an emaciated bull terrier, officers also discovered a break stick – commonly used to separate dogs during a fight – covered in bite marks.

Analysis of Ian Draper’s phone and computer led the RSPCA to his son Danny who was already suspected of being involved in organised dog fighting. A warrant was executed at his then home in Swindon, where officers discovered five dogs (including Yew, pictured above left, and Boss, pictured below right) – including three consistent with dog fighting – as well as a treadmill used to train dogs. They also seized a number of dog fighting books and magazines, which District Judge Cooper had described at a previous hearing as “form guides” for dog fighters.

Phone and computer analysis also led the RSPCA to John Hamerston, from Bournemouth, who had been jointly involved with the Drapers in training a dog called Honey for fighting. He was given a 12-month ban on keeping dogs when he was sentenced in January this year. Hamerston admitted a number of charges, including keeping and training dogs for fighting.
Danny Draper, 25, of Taphouse Avenue, Witney, admitted five charges including joint possession of dogs contrary to section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act, jointly keeping and training dogs for connection with an animal fight, possession of items in connection with an animal fight and jointly causing unnecessary suffering to two dogs.

Ian Draper admitted seven charges including breaching a 10-year disqualification order on keeping dogs, jointly causing unnecessary suffering to a dog, failing to meet the basic welfare needs of a dog, keeping and training animals in connection with animal fighting and possession of items to be used in connection with animal fighting.

The Drapers were both ordered to sign their dogs over to the RSPCA.

Ian Draper’s girlfriend, Katy Davies, was last month fined £300 and ordered to pay £300 costs and a £65 victim surcharge, after she admitted aiding and abetting him to breach his ban on keeping dogs.

Laura Hornsby, girlfriend of Danny Draper, previously admitted one charge of jointly causing unnecessary suffering to a dog. She was disqualified from keeping dogs for 12 months, given a three-year conditional discharge and must pay £300 in costs.


Notes to editors

Case footage seized from Danny Draper’s former address is available to download. Case photographs are also available upon request. Contact the RSPCA national press office on 0300 123 0244 or for more information.

RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
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