Published Thursday, 02 August 2012
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Jerimiah Samuel and Cathy Kirkwood, both aged 41 and from Parkgate Crescent, Belfast, face a series of charges following raids on properties in the city.
Also charged were their sons Gary Kirkwood, 18, Ryan Kirkwood, 20, Chris Kirkwood, 21, and Wayne Kirkwood, 19, all of Island Street, Belfast.
The sons are also accused of involvement in the alleged racket.
Alongside them in the dock at Belfast Magistrates' Court were 18-year-old Jamie Morrow, of McAllister Court, and Daniel Scott, 32, of Tower Court, both in Belfast.
They were arrested in an operation carried out with officers from the USPCA last November.
Several dogs and equipment were taken away from houses in the city.
Charges against some of the accused include causing unnecessary suffering to animals, keeping or training an animal used in connection with animal fighting, having items used for fights and photographing and publishing images of an animal fight.
The court heard pitbull and lurcher-type dogs, puppies and badgers all referred to during the hearing.
A detective constable revealed in court that three of dogs seized have since been destroyed as they were self-harming.
The officer said she could connect the accused to the charges and that an expert had identified the animals from video footage of alleged animal fights.
She claimed injuries to the dogs were "consistent with this type of activity".
All eight accused were released on continuing bail, with conditions imposed to allow police to carry out checks on any other animals being kept.