45 2 mins 15 yrs

I see that a Tyrone Gaelic football star is a major figure in the illegal world of dog fighting, a BBC Spotlight investigation has found.  Gerard Cavlan, an all-Ireland medal winner, is a senior figure in a County Armagh dog fighting operation known as The Bulldog Sanctuary Kennels.

Earlier this year, Cavlan, from Dungannon, was convicted of possessing a dangerous dog and fined £650. In April, his solicitor told Dungannon Magistrates Court that Cavlan had merely collected the dog from kennels for a Dublin man and was not involved in any other illegal activities. However, with the aid of a trained undercover operative and secret filming, the Spotlight team discovered that this was not true. During secret filming, after being raided by the USPCA, Cavlan admitted to Spotlight that he still had "a dozen or 15 dogs".

He also talked about the strength and skill of a pit bull terrier in a fight. "Sure he had him in the chest, and he shook him and he shook him for 25 minutes… if he hadn’t got you killed in half an hour… he was in trouble, you know. A real hard mouthed dog," he said.

What an animal – Cavlan I mean.  Dog fighting is barbaric and those who engage in it should be severly punished. The BBC deserve to be congratulated on exposing this cruel and degrading activity. The GAA need to take some tough decisions.

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45 thoughts on “WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?

  1. Dog fighting is barbaric and those who engage in it should be severely punished.

    Agree with you 100%

    The GAA need to take some tough decisions.

    Once convicted he should be thrown out. Unfortunately, if the GAA acted without a conviction, this man would take them to court and have their decision overturned.. This applies to all organisations in our litigious society of today.

  2. This man has to be locked up.
    Reminds me of a documentary that was on RTE a few months ago following the DSPCA around and in one episode they found a dog in an estate that had had a firecracker go off in its mouth, end result was its lower jaw was completely shattered and just hanging loose. The poor fellow was put to sleep. I paid a visit to its animal shelter in Rathfarnham a few months ago shortly after seeing this programme and was amazed by the setup and the overall treatment of the animals. Unfortunately, due to my working hours I can’t really adopt a dog.

    Shameful act by an all-ireland star and when convicted he should be thrown out.

    David, How come you don’t have a link to the USPCA and encourage support of the great work done by this organisation?

  3. David

    Great post and I’m looking forward to seeing the programme tonight. The callous hypocricy of this GAA "star" is sickening. I never believed the story that he got away with at the time.

    But the question is will anything happen as a result of the programme. I mean arrests, charges, convictions and appropriate sentences. Given the failure of the authorities in the past, I’m not expecting anything significant to happen, even when the evidence is presented to them on a plate. However, if Cavlan is convicted as a result of this it will be interesting to see what response, if any, comes from the GAA.

  4. True – they should await the conviction but suspend him in the interim.

    Agreed David. Sadly, GAA players are quick enough to head to the courts even over suspensions. That said, let them suspend him and defend it in the courts if required.

  5. The GAA need to make tough decisions? I know you don’t have much respect for the PSNI but now you want the GAA to become the police force for Northern Ireland?

    I see NFL quarterback Michael Vick will be looking at jail for something similar.

    That is what should happen. This man should be looking at what Vick is looking at.

  6. Garfield,

    I don’t have any respect for the PSNI but that is neither here nor there. Don’t the GAA have any sense of responsibility for those within their organisation that allegedly commit crime? Kloot is right, you are wrong.

  7. David,
    there is a thing called due process. Once Vick pleaded guilty, he was suspended by the NFL and lost all his lucrative sponsorship deals.

    Call me old-fashioned but let’s show a bit of respect for the legal principles that we have followed for the guts of a thousand years.

  8. Kloot

    I totally agree. This is barbaric and totally unacceptable.

    Of course, the GAA must cover themselves legally so the course of action you suggest would be advisable.

    If this person is found guilty, the GAA should expel him with no delay.

  9. David,
    of course the easy thing to do is to expel someone but where do we draw the line?

    Do we expel tax evaders who are robbing all of us, for example?

    What if this guy pleads guilty and is fined and given a three-month sentence?

    Should he be suspended from the GAA for the three months or given a life ban?

    Will Vicks never be allowed play NFL football anywhere ever again even after he has done his time?

    What about all the English Premiership footballers who have been done for drink driving, assault etc. but are allowed back to their clubs once they come out of prison?

  10. Garfield,

    If you cannot see a moral wrong then I cannot help you. Most others here lack your blinkers on this issue. Whataboutery goes nowhere.

  11. David,
    of course there is a moral wrong but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss this in the real world.

    The easy answer is to say ban him for life and for all of us to huddle together for a moral group hug, clapping each other on the back for our righteousness, but I would like to look a little deeper.

    Maybe it is you who should take the blinkers off.

  12. Garfield

    This guy has form already in this brutal illegal bloodsport. Now he’s caught bang to rights on a tv documentary, and you still want him to get the benefit of the doubt.

    For what it’s worth, I’m sure the GAA will take your line and do absolutely nothing, even if he’s subsequently convicted. The instinct to protect one of their own will over-ride common decency.

  13. Peter,
    this is getting ridiculous. Moral indignation as a badge of honour.

    I am asking how we can deal with this in general rather than looking at each case individually?

    What are your suggestions?

  14. Peter,
    I am a believer in due process and not trial by media. It seems you like to go with the mob.

    I suppose you thought the same when all those pictures of Abu Ghraib came out. Or are you at least selective about the media mobs you run with.

  15. Garfield

    Due process by all means. I’ll watch tonight, as I’m sure the bigwigs of the GAA will watch. It will be fun hearing them defend their failure to act in the coming days. They will use exactly the arguments you have advanced.

    Question for you: If it was a paedophile ring that was exposed instead of a dog fighting ring would you still be in favour of no suspension in the interim?

  16. For what it’s worth, I’m sure the GAA will take your line and do absolutely nothing, even if he’s subsequently convicted. The instinct to protect one of their own will over-ride common decency.

    Peter, that last line is extremely unfair to the GAA, and uncalled for. To suggest that the GAA would protect this man, regardless of his activity, just because he is a member is ridiculous.

    Gars point is that granted, the GAA or his place of employment or his local snooker club which he could be a member of, could act on the evidence of the TV documentary, but they will be challenged through the courts, be in no doubt of that. I reckon they should make the suspension pending on an investigation or the outcome of legal proceedings

  17. Peter,
    I see you don’t have an answer to my rather simple question about what we should do in general with people who break the law but play sport.

    On your paedophile ring question, there have been American football teams with registered sex offenders on their rosters.

    As for NFL players with criminal records for atrocious violence on humans, not dogs, where will I begin?

    As I said at the beginning, it’s easy come out all morally indignant, it’s a little more difficult to come up with solutions.

    Any ideas?

    PS: 21% of NFL players have criminal records.

    How many of the morally indignant Americans on here will be enjoying their NFL season and how many will be switching off in protest?

  18. Lets not loose focus on who is at fault here… namely the player.. not the GAA. The GAA does not have its own internal police force tasked with keeping tabs on its members. It relies on this sort of information being brought to its attention before acting on it.

    I can see this thread descending fast into another stick to beat the GAA with, and that would be wrong IMO.

  19. Garfield

    We can deal with it in general by booting him out. The fact that the NFL has kept others doesn’t mean the GAA need to go by that standard. Dog fighting is not a sport, it’s barbaric. It is not the same as being done for drunken behaviour. It reflects upon the man in the sporting arena, that makes it very relivant.

    If they don’t boot him, then they condone it. Condoning drunken behaviour is one thing, condoning dog fighting as sport by a national sporting organisation is quite another.

  20. Typhoo,
    murderers and paedophiles play/ have played in the NFL while rapists, thugs and God knows what else are also active in the English Premier League and NFL.

    So as Q4Andy asks, does this mean that the English Premier League promotes such actions?

    I’m sure Sir Trevor Brooking and his pals would disagree.

    I see nobody has any suggestions about how we deal with this. Much easier to be morally indignant and go on with your lives as before.

    How do we achieve what everyone seems to want, namely no scumbags in sport?

  21. Garfield,

    Now that you are back, what did you mean by the following over on the Disband Special Branch thread?

    Don’t know what went wrong with the NYPD Irish though. God the Irish love being cops.
    Tuesday, August 28, 2007 at 07:32PM | Unregistered CommenterGarfield

    Angry New Yorkers want to know!

  22. I would support any sports organization suspending a convicted felon, including one convicted of staging dog fights. It isn’t a GAA issue, it is an international pass that celebrities and sports stars often get.

  23. I think that Garfield is on the verge of having a good point for a change when he compares the hysteria over athletes who are into dog fighting with the lack of interest about athletes who harm other humans. Take the Michael Vick case, it has made the news across the world even in countries where the NFL is barely watched at all. Compare this to the media treatment of another NFL player, Rae Carruth, who in 1999 arranged the drive by murder of his pregnant girlfriend, yet was almost entirely ignored by th media.

  24. Garfield

    Depending on the extent of the evidence to be seen on tonight’s programme, the GAA should suspend this player, if only to protect their reputation. If they fail to act on the grounds of innocent until proved guilty, as you clearly want them to, they will be seen as condoning this barbarity, perhaps unfailrly, but there you are. Life’s unfair a lot of the time.

    Let’s remind ourselves of what the BBC are saying:

    "Earlier this year, Cavlan, from Dungannon, was convicted of possessing a dangerous dog and fined £650. In April, Dungannon Magistrates Court was told that Cavlan had merely collected the dog from kennels for a Dublin man and was not involved in any other illegal activities.

    However, with the aid of a trained undercover operative and secret filming, the Spotlight team discovered that this was not true. During secret filming, after being raided by the USPCA, Cavlan admitted to Spotlight that he still had "a dozen or 15 dogs"."
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6969651.stm

    Bang to rights I’d say.

  25. Peter,
    I fully accept that taking the civil law test of probability, he is involved in dog fighting but taking the criminal one, he can’t be convicted on that alone.

    He is keeping dogs he shouldn’t be keeping. That alone is not enough.

    I haven’t seen the programme so let’s see first.

    Alan,
    I mean the NYPD pipe band playing for Gerry Adams and the like back in the old days.

  26. I see the point Garfield is making. I guess you handle this through a "bringing the game into disrepute" type charge, and then fix the penalty in line with the offence. You can’t kick people out automatically – that would mean Tony Adams couldn’t have played for Arsenal after his jail term – that would have been unacceptable!

  27. Dog fighting is barbaric and those who engage in it should be severly punished

    Agree 100% and I don’t think he should be allowed play Gaelic games again if convicted.

  28. I’ve just watched the BBC documentary. Excellent work by them, and some truly sickening sights.

    As to the participants, including the GAA star (who is filmed boasting how he beat the rap the last time), they’re lucky that our criminal justice system will show them more mercy than these pschyos show to these unfortunate dogs. The GAA should suspend this scumbag for life, but I expect they’ll do no such thing.

  29. David

    It will be SO interesting to see what the GAA do now, if anything.

    But in any case there must be enough evidence on film to charge the ringleaders in Co Armagh, including the GAA star. If the authorities don’t throw the book at these scum it will be a total disgrace.

  30. Peter,
    what will they charge the GAA star with considering the evidence they have is the evidence confiscated for the prosecution in April of this year? Just wondering like.

  31. Garfield

    You have your head in the sand on this one. I saw both the Spotlight and Panorama programmes last night. My reaction to the scum involved in this bloodsport is that they deserve the maximum the law has to throw at them. You seem to feel they are innocent and your view may well prevail as the local authorities are responsible for the dog laws and some of them clearly don’t give a shit about dog-fighting.

    I have already said what I think the GAA should do and there is no point debating this further.

  32. Peter,

    Im in agreement with you, the GAA should suspend him on the evidence of the programme, pending a criminal investigation. But, what I find interesting is the waiting expectancy from you on the question of the GAA’s actions.

    Do you know, is he a member of any other clubs or is it a case that the GAA comes under special scrutiny because, this is after all NI ?

    You might let us know your own views on the GAA in general. Are you predestined to disagreeing with anything the GAA does, as so many are in NI, or is it a case that you would be genuinely saddened if the GAA were to let this pass without addressing it ?

  33. Kloot

    This scumbag perjury-committing illegal blood-sports enthusiast just happens to be a high-profile GAA star. The GAA, in my opinion, cannot ignore last night’s two programmes as if it’s nothing to do with them, because their star player has dragged them into it. So I hope they do the decent thing and ban the bastrad for life. I listened to a Radio Ulster phone-in and that was also the reaction of many GAA fans.

    Clear now?

  34. Peter,

    Im not any clearer as to your views to the GAA, but if you dont want to go there, then fair enough.

    Personally, id hold the critical views of the GAA of someone who wasnt predestined to be against the GAA over those coming at it from a neutral point or a from a Pro GAA point of view.

    You views on the GAA aside, I can agree completely with you with regards to what the GAA should do, and unfortunately they have avoided making a hard decision

    GAA distances itself from GAA star

    A real pity. Listening to Irish radio at the moment and its all disgust at the actions of this man and calls for the GAA to deal with the problem.

  35. Kloot

    I agree that the GAA has done the absolute minimum, as I feared they would. The scumbag himself has also put out a statement apologising to his fans and "regretting" his behaviour (but also blaming the BBC for victimising him). Obviously these statements were co-ordinated and it is clear that both parties are hoping for "business as usual".

    Meanwhile the police are reviewing the programme. It must be likely that perjury proceedings will be brought in relation to the previous court case. For a reminder about this case see HERE

  36. "For what it’s worth, I’m sure the GAA will take your line and do absolutely nothing, even if he’s subsequently convicted. The instinct to protect one of their own will over-ride common decency."

    I don’t know what that means. Ask Shane King about protecting one of their own – his treatment by the GAA AFTER being fully acquitted is scandalous.

  37. Reg

    I’ve no idea who Shane King is. But my fears about the GAA’s reaction to the dog-fighting scandal have been confirmed. It will be up to decent GAA members to make a stand on this and ensure that this scumbag does not bring their organisation into disrepute. The pathetic Pontius Pilate statement from the leadership of the organisation today will not do.

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