Chief Inspector Mike Butcher has spent more than 30 of his 44 years with the RSPCA in the Society’s Special Operations Unit, tackling organised animal crime including badger baiting, dog fighting and cock fighting.
He has caught and successfully prosecuted key players in animal crime rings all over the country, despite receiving numerous death threats, including one from Irish paramilitaries after he worked on a dog fighting investigation in Dublin.
He is recognised as the UK’s leading dog fighting expert, after revealing it was still widespread in Britain in the early 1980s, despite being outlawed more than 150 years before. He was instrumental in the writing of section eight of the Animal Welfare Act, which is used to prosecute organised animal fighting gangs and his expertise is in demand from organisations investigating dog fighting all over the world.
Mike, who continued to work after being diagnosed with cancer in November 2014, receiving the all-clear this year, was also instrumental in the first ever travelling circus prosecution, the first hare coursing prosecution under the Hunting Act, as well as the only prosecution of a Hunt under the Act.
He is currently leading an RSPCA investigation into fraud and puppy farming.