A report of a crowd gathering to watch organised dog fighting on Papamoa beach is being investigated by police.
Papamoa police Sergeant Phil Gillbanks yesterday told the Bay of Plenty Times he had received third-hand information about an organised dog fight supposedly held on the beach opposite Sunrise Ave about 6am last week.
Mr Gillbanks said he had been told a fight pen had been created in the sand and a number of people turned out to watch.
"This is obviously a huge concern if it is true as it is highly illegal and is particularly cruel to the animals involved," he said.
He began to circulate information about the alleged fight through Papamoa Neighbourhood Support on Sunday but had not yet heard anything further.
Tauranga SPCA inspector Jason Blair said he had not heard anything about last week's reported fight either.
Mr Blair said he had heard the odd whisper about organised dog fighting but never found evidence of it in Tauranga.
"You hear whispers and rumours. You could expect it to be happening," Mr Blair said.
Some people bred dogs specifically for fighting while other times it was just a couple of people who decided to pit their dogs against each other to see which was tougher.
The maximum penalty if convicted for organising dog fights was up to a year in prison and a $50,000 fine.
The Bay of Plenty Times spoke to residents who lived by the beach on Maranui St, Sunrise Ave and Sunbrae Grove but no one had heard or seen anything out of the ordinary.
Ben De Kleynen lives about 50m from the beach and said he would most likely have heard the noise from his house if there had been animals fighting.
He often goes for morning walks but had not come across anything resembling a dog fight.
"It's been quite peaceful and beautiful," he said.
Resident Jacqui Van Oudenaaren said she was not aware of any suspicious behaviour either.
Papamoa veterinary clinics were also shocked to hear rumours of dog fighting.
Janine Chase, vet nurse at Beach Road Vet Clinic in Papamoa, said staff had not heard anything about dog fights but said it was unlikely the animals would be taken for treatment if they were organised fights.
Tauranga Kennel Association secretary Angela Clayton said she had not heard anything. "Usually if something like that was going on we'd be quite prolific around it," she said.
Call the Papamoa police on (07) 572 2440 or the SPCA on (07) 578 0245 if you have any information about organised dog fighting.