An undercover RSPCA officer who has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to catching dog fighters and badger baiters has been named RSPCA Superstar of the Year at this year’s Animal Hero Awards.
Chief inspector Mike Butcher is recognised as being the man who revealed Britain’s dog fighting shame after the bloodsport gained increasing popularity three decades ago, before leading countless successful investigations into some of the most serious cases the RSPCA has ever handled.
He was presented with the prestigious RSPCA Superstar of the Year award at last night’s Animal Hero Awards, hosted by the Daily Mirror and RSPCA at Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
The panel of judges praised Mike for his dedication, which saw him continue to investigate some of the most serious crimes against animals while fighting - and winning - his own battle with cancer.
Mike – the RSPCA’s longest serving frontline office with more than 44 years service – said he was overwhelmed to have been given the award.
He said: “I feel humbled because there were some amazing nominations in the same category. I get paid to do my job, but some of the other nominees don’t, they’re volunteers. The dog fighting scene is a very dangerous and very violent scene. We’ve had some pretty scary moments over the years.
“I’ve had my nose broken in a one-to-one with a dog fighter in his prison cell, I’ve been threatened by Irish terrorist groups and there was a contract put out on my life by a London gangster.
“People were coming up to me saying they were shocked by what they’d heard about and didn’t realise that crimes like dog fighting and badger baiting continue to happen to this day.
“Even now RSPCA inspectors from the Special Operations Unit will be out there trying to catch the people involved. I’ve had a fantastic 44 years, but hopefully there will be many more still to come.”
Mike, joined the charity in 1973 and was originally posted to York and then Alnwick as a uniformed inspector. He joined the Special Operations Unit, dedicated to investigating organised animal crime, in 1980. He is now recognised as the UK’s leading expert on dog fighting.
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