Dog lovers have reacted with outrage on Facebook after a reported incident of a pit bull mother and her two puppies having their ears hacked off at a home in Chatsworth.
Durban SPCA spokeswoman Caroline Smith confirmed that a woman had been arrested on Wednesday afternoon.
“Four pit bulls were found chained on the property. The adult mother and two pups had their ears hacked off on Tuesday afternoon and their wounds were fresh,” said Smith.
“The father’s ears had also been hacked off but had healed. A sjambok was recovered at the scene.”
She said there was no evidence at the property that the dogs had been involved in dog fighting.
The animals are in the care of the SPCA and a case of cruelty has been opened.
The society’s Facebook page was flooded with comments, such as:
“How can people do unto another living creature what they would not want done to them?” – Nadine Naidoo.
“Makes me so angry when I see this. Those people have no hearts. Imagine if someone had to do this to one of their human friends? – Sarah van Heerden.
“There is a special place in hell for people like this.” – Trevor Moodley.
Kate Botha, from the Southside Pitbulls Club, said that the club was aware of the arrest and that the ear-hacking method appeared to be similar to another case it had dealt with.
“It’s absolutely horrendous,” she said. “These dogs had been butchered, and the neighbours must have heard the screams of these dogs.”
She said that pit bulls’ ears were “cropped” for dog fighting, an industry that was flourishing in Durban.
“The ears are cropped so that they cannot be grabbed by the opponent during a fight, and to give them a meaner look,” said Botha.
“There is a multimillion-rand underground industry in pit bull breeding and fighting.
“There are so many backyard breeders who claim to sell purebreds, but in fact the pit bulls are often mixed with another breed, such as boerboels.
“There are a lot of forged papers claiming a dog is pedigreed and being sold as registered. They are washing down the bloodlines, making dangerous and unstable breeds.”
She added that pit bulls had been portrayed as dangerous dogs by the media, which was a misconception.
“We have found that pit bulls undergo more brutal punishment than any other breed,” said Botha.
“They are extremely powerful dogs and have been known as rescue dogs down through history.
“They are ‘dog aggressive’ and are trained to fight, but they are not human aggressive.
“Each one of the dogs is special and people are not aware of the widespread abuse of them in the greater Durban area.”