SA man jailed seven months for dog fights

An Adelaide man who used shock collars and steroids to train pit bull terriers for illegal dog fights has been jailed for seven months.

In the first prosecution of its kind in South Australia, Benn Hamilton pleaded guilty to 12 charges, including six counts of keeping an animal for use in fights and one count of organising an animal fight.

The court was told RSPCA inspectors found six American pit bull terriers chained up in the backyard of Hamilton's home when they responded to a complaint in 2016.

Prosecutor Marie Shaw said the dogs were aggressive and had fractured teeth and other injuries to their faces, mouths, ears, necks and limbs, consistent with fighting.

Hamilton also admitted to possessing various equipment including the shock collars, steroids and other drugs along with books and DVDs about dog fighting.

"This is abhorrent conduct," Ms Shaw said.

She said dogs were often referred to as "man's best friend".

"They rely on humans to feed them, to house them, to treat them well, not to train them for entertainment and financial gain at the risk of injury and mortality," she said.

"Animals, and dogs in particular, can serve man in many ways so long as they are treated humanely and fairly."

Defence counsel Peter Hill said Hamilton was remorseful and had reflected on his actions.

Magistrate Kym Millard said a behavioural report on the dogs found they were capable of doing severe damage when biting and were so aggressive the only choice was to euthanise them.

Hamilton was jailed for seven months and also banned from owning any animal in the future.

The RSPCA is also seeking to recover more than $35,000 from the 39-year-old to cover veterinary bills and other expenses.

Chief inspector Andrea Lewis said the jail term was the longest custodial sentence handed down in an animal welfare case in SA and showed that society would not tolerate animals being treated in such a manner.

"Due to no fault of their own the dogs had been bred to fight to the death and could not be released into the community," she said.

"They were used as a tool in a sport that's just horrific."

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