File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

DURBAN - A Johannesburg court has sentenced two dog fight handlers and a spectator to lengthy jail terms, the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) announced in a statement on Thursday.

According to the NSPCA, the Roodepoort Regional Court “was clear during [its] judgment that violent animal abuse will not be tolerated”.

The society said that during aggravation of sentence, senior SPCA inspector Wendy Willson explained “in detail…how two of the accused, after making their dogs engage in bloody battle – then dragged the bleeding, dehydrated animals, both of whom were grievously injured and suffering from broken bones, a distance of nearly 2km through the veld in an attempt to evade the pursuing law enforcement officers”.

The fight, pitting American Pitbulls against each other, was raided in Dobsonville, Soweto, in August 2016.

Several dogs were seized, some of which needed to the euthanised.

“Retshidisitswe Steve Mohoyo, who was watching the fight, is the first spectator to receive direct imprisonment of 10 months and an additional period of suspended imprisonment that comes into effect if he is caught offending again,” said the NSPCA.

Teboho Godfrey Tabethe (36), a security guard employed by Fortis Security, as well as mechanic Bongani Cullen Radebe (23) were both “sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment and a further period of suspended imprisonment”.

“Additionally they were declared by the court to be unfit to own any species of animal in the future,”  said the statement.

The NSPCA thanked regional court prosecutor Kelebogile Sibi for being “persistent in fighting for the silent victims”  as well as the SAPS and West Rand K9 unit who continually helped the society break up dog fighting rings.

 African News Agency (ANA)