SPCA, Law enforcement rescue nine dogs used for dogfighting in Mitchells Plain
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Cape Town - The SPCA, with assistance from the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement Animal Unit, has rescued nine dogs used for dogfighting in Tafelsig, Mitchells Plain.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA spokesperson, Belinda Abraham, told IOL that the rescue was prompted by a video that was sent to the organisation anonymously.
The video contained footage of children, the eldest believed to be around 13, inciting the dogs to attack each other.
Children can be seen egging on the dogs as they engage in a fight.
A court order was obtained from the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court after evidence was represented.
SPCA inspectors along with the Animal Unit found the animals chained on short static chains. Some of the dogs had deep tissue scarring.
The SPCA said officials also discovered backyard breeding taking place.
On Wednesday, Abraham told IOL that the dog breeds consisted of pitbulls, Staffordshire bull terriers (Staffies) and German Shepherds.
Officials rescued six adult dogs and three puppies.
“The dogs are now in the care of the SPCA and were removed with the assistance of law enforcement with a court order issued.
“Our investigation is still under way and we are in the process of compiling a docket for submission to SAPS.
“The dogs have been seen by a veterinarian, and our on-site animal behaviourist will begin working with them as soon as they are more settled.
“They will remain in our care until the matter is concluded by the courts or until a magistrate rules otherwise,” Abraham said.
She said it was extremely concerning to note young children in the video being exposed to horrific acts of cruelty that would lead to a desensitisation to violence.
Abraham said dogfighting promoted and encouraged a culture of non-empathy, and routine exposure to unfettered animal abuse could be a major contributing factor in a child’s later manifestation of conduct disorders and social deviance.
“In terms of the Animals Protection Act no. 71 of 1962, it’s a crime to be involved with dogfighting in any manner.
“This includes owning, keeping, training or breeding animals for this purpose; and buying, selling or importing dogs for fighting.
“It’s against the law to incite or allow an animal to attack another or to promote animal fighting for entertainment or monetary gain.
“If a dog fight takes place on a property that you own or rent, you’re also committing a crime. Even watching a dog fight – or simply being on the same property where it takes place – is criminal,” Abraham said.
Offenders may be liable for a fine of up to R80 000 and or face two years’ imprisonment.
Abraham added that offenders would have a criminal record and can be denied animal ownership for a period determined by a magistrate for dog fighting.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security, Alderman JP Smith, has lauded the SPCA and the Animal Unit’s joint efforts to rescue the dogs.
“The City's Law Enforcement Animal Unit is committed to working with its partners and in particular the SPCA, to root out the barbarous practice of dog fighting. This success is extremely encouraging to the team and it sends out the message that the perpetrators will be tracked down,” Smith added.