Dogfighting Undercover is a documentary made by the BBC that goes deep into the secret and dangerous world of dogfighting. For over 18 months, an undercover team operated alongside international gangs in Europe, in an attempt to capture the organised fights on camera.
The documentary reveals how American pitbull terriers – which are a banned breed created to be the ultimate canine gladiator – have been bred and sold by the gangs into inner city Britain.
An anonymous source had given Steve ( the films undercover reporter) information about one of the largest dog-fighting gangs in the UK, The Farmers’ Boys. A gang that are based in a small town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland called Tandragee and have been dog-fighting for years.
The Farmers’ Boys seemed to thrive during The Troubles – obviously the police had to concentrate on other things.
From contacts in the military, Steve also knew that for this gang to operate in those parts there could possibly be a paramilitary link. Steve’s military skills and tactics would be needed, not just to infiltrate, but to stay alive.
The research at this point was showing that Finland was a main player in the fighting pit bull breeding chain so, in June 2006, I headed there with reporter Mandy McAuley and a BBC crew, travelling to Helsinki to visit a pit bull breeder called Paul Dunkel.