Dogfight accused has a record

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Independent Newspapers

Knysna - One of the defendants in the Plettenberg Bay dogfighting case was served a summons to appear on similar dogfighting charges relating to a 2008 incident in East London prior to the start of proceedings in the Knysna Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

Warrant Officer Marius van Huyssteen, who has given testimony in the Plettenberg Bay case, served the summons on Anton van Blerk, of East London, one of the remaining six men charged with contravening the Animal Protection Act after they were arrested at a property in Ladywood outside the Garden Route town in 2011.

The other five are Peter Wall, of Queenstown, Donald Wall, of Port Elizabeth, Rudi Wall, of Queenstown, Yorick Grobbelaar, of East London and Owen Keith “Budgee” Butler, of East London.

All men have pleaded not guilty.

Van Blerk has been asked to appear in the East London Magistrate’s Court on December 20 for his alleged part in a dogfight on October 31, 2008 at Winterstrand in East London. Eleven men were arrested.

The proceedings in Knysna on Friday heard the testimony of Bitou law enforcement officer Sithembile Mqongwana, who entered the Ladywood premises with law enforcement chief Andile Sakati, when the 11 men were arrested in May 2011.

Mqongwana largely corroborated Sekati’s evidence that pitbulls were still fighting in a wooden cage covering most of the living room area and needed to be separated when officers arrived.

After the officers told the accused to lie down, some of the men were placed inside the cage while Sekati’s inspector took photographs of the scene, which included blood spattered on the walls of the dog fighting cage.

The State also offered an inspection in loco at the Ladywood premises after one of the complainants, Karel du Toit, former chairman of the Knysna Animal Welfare Society, compiled and submitted a diagram with exact measurements and various photographs of the areas of the house in question, which has been partially demolished.

The defendants’ legal representative, Ricardo Pietersen, declined an inspection in loco but chose to not oppose the submission of this document by the prosecution, and the court accepted it as evidence.

While the State closed its case, the defence intends calling all the defendants, and one unknown witness, to testify when the case resumes in the Thembalethu Magistrate’s Court in George on May 14.

During the East London bust, police swooped on the scene and found several dogs tied up and at least three wounded, bleeding pitbulls.

Two of the dogs were still engaged in a vicious fight and not even pepper spray would separate them. A purpose-built fighting cage, a scale for weighing the animals and two “wash bays” used to hose dogs down after fighting were also found at the scene.

Garden Route Media

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