NSPCA supports ‘Ban The Breed’ petition following spate of pit bull attacks

An inspector from the NSPCA gets his supplies ready at the back of a NSPCA vehicle.

An inspector from the NSPCA. Picture: NSPCA

Published Oct 18, 2022


Durban - The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has come out in support of the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation, which started a petition to ban pit bulls as domestic animals in South Africa following a spate of attacks on people and dogs by the power breed.

By Tuesday morning the petition had received more than 32 000 signatures and in an update on Monday the foundation said it had been inundated with calls from pit bull owners who wanted to surrender their dogs with immediate effect.

“The calls were mainly coming from KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, with the foundation referring them to their nearest SPCA for collection,” it said in a statement on Facebook.

The NSPCA said on Tuesday that it stands in solidarity with the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation for the protection of people, especially the vulnerable, who are the most common victims of dog attacks.

“This is an issue where both human and animal life have been placed in danger by irresponsible people who lack the skills and knowledge required to handle power breeds,” said the animal welfare organisation.

According to the NSPCA, while its mandate is the prevention of cruelty to animals and promoting good animal care, the organisation also values human lives.

“Recently, there has been widespread media coverage on dog attacks against humans, with pit bull terriers becoming the notorious representative of the attacks, although other breeds of dog have also been responsible for attacks.

“Not only do people suffer from dog attacks, other animals have also been victim to dog attacks and have been mauled to death,” it said.

The NSPCA said these aggressive animals have also been subjected to extreme abuse and cruelty in the manner in which they are kept, trained, and even killed.

The NSPCA said the petition may appear to be outrageous, especially to pit bull owners, but, upon careful reflection, the petition advocates for the protection of people and responsible pet ownership:

  • The petition calls for all pit bulls to be castrated/sterilised, which would prevent the current rate of uncontrolled breeding.
  • The petition also calls for stronger regulations for the keeping of pit bulls (and other power breed animals) requiring owners to have permits to keep such animals. Pit bulls are acquired by irresponsible people to portray an image of “power”, for dogfighting, breeding and/or for security purposes. The animal becomes a high risk very quickly.

Dog breeds with the potential to be aggressive and cause harm to other animals and people can become a risk to the people in their communities if they are owned by uninformed or irresponsible people, said the organisation.

“According to section 10 of the Animals Protection Act no 71 of 1962, Minister Thokozile Didiza has the authority to promulgate new regulations in terms of the petition put forward by the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation,” said the NSPCA.

The foundation said in a recent case, which it has referred to the SPCA, a man was attacked in his home in Mthatha after pit bulls from his area entered his home.

“Luckily, the man lived to tell the story but escaped with deep wounds on his lower body, arms and emotional scars that may never heal,” said the statement.

The NSPCA said this petition should not result in the demonising of pit bulls, but should endeavour to find a humane and cohesive way forward to protect the human and animal victims in this issue.

“The NSPCA urges all owners who no longer wish to keep their dogs to take them to their local SPCA, animal welfare shelter, or private veterinarian,” it said.

The organisation advised that if you are in possession of an aggressive animal, by law, you are compelled to ensure that the animal is kept within the confines of your property and in a manner that meets the needs of the animals in terms of the Animals Protection Act and the Five Freedoms.