ILLEGAL: Dogs are often horrifically injured. Picture: SPCA

Raphael Wolf

DOG fighting is on the increase and is happening across Cape Town, from Constantia to the Cape Flats.

“There has been an escalation and it has grown in popularity (as a blood sport),” said Allan Perrins, chief executive for the SPCA.

While there had always been an assumption that most of the pitbull fighting was on the Cape Flats, Perrins said their experience was showing something different.

“We had some dealings and cases where at the end of the day this activity was very prevalent in white Afrikaner communities,” Perrins said.

“The number of pitbulls injured in fights and brought to our hospital is not a true reflection of the enormity or magnitude of organised dog fighting. They are often killed by the dog fight culprits.”

Seriously injured dogs were rarely brought to the SPCA or its mobile clinics, as criminals preferred someone with little experience and knowledge of dog injuries and their treatment.

He said the cruelty in dog fighting knew no bounds.

People had used their lounges and turned empty pools into fighting rings.

Spectators and those involved in the sport did not find it unnatural or cruel. “They say pitbulls were bred to fight.”

He said it was not only illegal to cross-breed dogs, but also illegal to keep them for fighting.

It was further illegal to be a spectator at such events as one would be charged for participating.

He has urged people to be on the lookout for signs of dog fights. This could be an unusual number of pitbull-type dogs in one area and dogs with scars on their faces, front legs, rear and thighs.

He said the SPCA wanted people to join the fight to help put an end to the savage, cruel and illegal practice of dog fighting.

Dogs that were used in dog fights often died of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion or infection within hours or even days after the fight, he said.

He said pitbulls were regularly conditioned for fighting through the use of drugs, such as anabolic steroids to enhance muscle mass and encourage aggressiveness.

Their ears were cropped and tails docked to impair their normal body language signals and limit areas that another dog could grab during a fight.

Suspected dog fighting activities can be reported to the SPCA on 021 700 4148/59 and after-hours on 083 326 1604. People can go to https://capespca.co.za/dont-fight-me-rather-fight-for-me/