One of the suspects taken into custody.
One of the suspects taken into custody.

Dogfighting suspects appear in Athlone Magistrate’s Court

By Mthuthuzeli Ntseku Time of article published Jun 4, 2021

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Cape Town - The Cape of Good Hope SPCA says it is making inroads into rooting out the scourge of dog fighting in the metro.

This as two suspects from Manenberg appeared in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court yesterday on charges of cruelty to animals after being arrested on Tuesday.

SPCA spokesperson Belinda Abrahams said it was discovered that one of the suspects had three existing criminal charges against him for attempted murder and illegal possession of a firearm, while the other had an existing charge of attempted murder.

Abrahams said the SPCA at times faced difficulty in building a case that can withstand the tests of the court because of lack of evidence.

“We often receive reports of dogfighting after the fact, with no way to secure the evidence or identify the perpetrators and no leads with which to begin an investigation. Often, witnesses are too afraid to testify in court and a case cannot always proceed without eye-witness testimony.

“If you happen to witness a dog fight in progress and it is safe to do so, please try to obtain video footage that shows both the fight taking place and the faces of those involved. If you can establish where the individuals involved reside, that would enable swift action by the SPCA both to get animals to safety and to effect arrests on the suspects with the help of the police,” Abrahams said.

She said dogfighting was widespread across Cape Town but the majority of the reports received were from the Cape Flats.

Tin Can Town Animal Rescue co-founder Rosemarie Kunneke said dogfighting was not necessarily an organised ring as many fights were informal gatherings, where in many instances young teenagers get together to make quick money by letting their dogs fight.

“In many of these cases the guys steal someone’s Pitbull to do a quick fight and then they dump the dogs afterwards. We have had cases where the poor animal managed to find their way home – these owners will then contact us to help the dogs. The dogs are obviously not returned to the owners because of the threat of this happening again. Sadly not a lot of people are willing to point out the culprits, who fight their dogs, due to fear of some type of retribution,” said Kunneke.

Anyone with information of isolated cases relating to the abuse of animals, similar to dogfighting, can call Crime Stop on 08600 1011.

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