By: Mthuthuzeli Ntseku
The SPCA said it had seen a widespread increase in dogfighting on the Cape Flats and urged communities to report these incidents.
Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abraham said dogfighting was a strong indicator of a society in decay as it promoted and encouraged a culture of non-empathy.
“We are concerned about the practice of dogfighting as it is not only a problem of cruelty to animals, but also part of a criminal subculture that can involve other criminal activities such as illegal gambling, drug-related crimes, theft as well as contributing to the destruction of communities. Illegal gambling is an inherent part of a dogfight, and because money changes hands, weapons are common,” Abrahams said.
She said children were often present, and besides the inherent danger of the situation to a child, their witnessing such premeditated acts of cruelty led to an ever-growing desensitisation to violence.
Animal rescue organisation Tin Can Town’s field volunteer Carol Conradie said there was more street dogfighting than most people realised.
“Street fighting is much more prevalent than the organised syndicate fights. Guys grab any dogs on the street for quick impromptu fights on any piece of waste ground. They take bets on the dogs and then turn the dogs loose to either die of their injuries or find their way home,” Conradie said.
“Generally we receive these dogs in excruciating conditions, with horrible bite wounds. These dogs that find their way home or are picked up by concerned community members have also often been knocked over by cars as they flee in panic, so they quite often have broken bones in addition to their bite wounds.”
Cicely Blumberg from Adopt A Pet said dog fighting and gangsterism were connected where power breeds such as pit bulls had replaced breeds such as Staffies and bull terriers as a “must-have breed”, where they were used as “killers”.
Conradie said dogfighting was illegal in South Africa in terms of the Animals Protection Act, but the progression of this activity to the level of organised crime made it hard to infiltrate.
“Each case costs the SPCA in the region of R20000, this includes veterinary treatment for the injured animal as well as veterinary reports for the purposes of prosecution, expert witness testimony, travel costs to and from the courts and inspector salaries.”
She said Tin Can Town was increasingly encouraged by the severity of the sentences being handed down in respect of animal cruelty.
Source: Daily Voice
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