A group of 14 men were fined yesterday for attending a dog fighting event in Birmingham which caused "horrendous and unimaginable pain" to two pit bull terriers.
The magistrate dealing with the case expressed his frustration at being able to hand out only relatively small fines to the men who attended the "sadistic" event which claimed the lives of the two dogs.
District Judge Kal Qureshi, sitting at Birmingham Magistrates' Court, said his "hands were tied" as he fined each of the defendants between £500 and £1,300 for being involved with the "inherently cruel" illegal dog fight.
The event took place at a kitchen showroom in February last year in Alum Rock Road.
Ordering each of the 14 defendants to pay £80 in costs, Mr Qureshi said the maximum sentence available to him under the Protection of Animals Act was a fine of £2,500.
"My hands are very much tied in terms of sentence," he said. "I personally cannot think of any offence that is more serious but that carries this limitation of its sentence."
He said the prosecution had described the dog fight as pre-planned and well-organised.
The magistrate told the 14 men: "The event was filmed by people present... a pit had been created and there was veterinary equipment and buckets and sponges to staunch the wounds of the animals that were involved.
"Large sums of money were found so it was apparent that betting was taking place on the outcome of the fight.
"The event itself is best described as a sadistic event - in my view it involved inflicting horrendous and unimaginable pain without any pity for the animals involved."
The trial of 10 other defendants who deny a variety of charges in connection with the fight will resume today.
Two other men, who admitted charges of causing the dogs to fight, being present at a dog fight, possessing a pit bull terrier and causing unnecessary suffering, have been bailed until September 13.
* The defendants sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty to attending the fight included a snooker club owner, a taxi driver, an electrician, a car valeter, and a customer relations consultant.
They were Ansar Ayub, 33, of Foley Road, Ward End; Nadeem Arif, 35, and Naveed Arif, 33, both of Sandway Gardens, Washwood Heath; Basharat Ali 36, of St Margaret's Avenue, Ward End; Zahoor Ahmed Hussain, 42, of Havelock Road, Alum Rock; Amanat Ali, 41, of Kitts Green Road, Lea Village; Nissar Khan, 32, of Bowyer Road, Alum Rock; Ikhlaq Mohammed, 29, of Anglesey Street, Lozells; Asif Hussain, 34, of Bowyer Road, Alum Rock; Farid Mohammed, 26, of Grove Lane, Handsworth, all Birmingham.
Akil Habib Khan, 27, of Leys Road, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire; Sajid Saed Shah, 26, of Grantham Road, Luton, Bedfordshire; Atif Farhan Tariq, 26, of Portman Road, Luton and Sheraz Hassan, 28, of Canada Street, Miles Platting, Manchester.