Injured in dogfight: 10-month-old pitbull Tyson was found in a villa in Al Ruwayyah with his ears bitten off and his arm and leg broken supplied photos Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Concerns are rising among residents that their pets are being stolen for use in the illegal sport of dogfighting.

Their suspicions strengthened after a 10-month-old pitbull, Tayson, which went missing from a Nad Al Sheba villa last week was found at a farm in Al Ruwayyah with severe injuries. The dog’s eye and ear had bite marks and his right legs were broken. “My dog would have died. The wounds were so bad the vet said he must have been assaulted by other dogs for more than an hour,” said pet owner F.K.

She had left Tayson with her friend Sara Waheed. “We got a call from Sara’s parents on December 18 saying my dog had gone missing from the garden inside the villa. My friend and I started combing the area. We came across two teenage boys who also owned pitbulls. When we asked them if they had seen my pet, they said they had seen a pitbull and that their pets had attacked the dog. We didn’t believe their story and probed further only to find out that they had taken my pet to their farm in Al Ruwayyah,” she said.

F.K. said she was shocked when she saw Tayson.

“It was a heart-rending sight. It was obvious that he was used in dogfighting. He is just a baby and does not even know how to defend himself,” she said, adding that she will file a police case to nail the culprits after she gets the medical reports.

This incident, along with the recovery of a Siberian Husky from a dogfighter, has sparked outrage among animal lovers and pet owners. “Many pets disappear here. We suspect they are being stolen for use in dogfighting,” said Jackie Ratcliffe, managing director of K9 Friends in Dubai who has rescued dogs that were used as bait.

Exposing animals to negligence, cruelty or malnourishment is punishable by law. Penalties include imprisonment and fines.