File picture: Supplied

Durban - A number of dog lovers have come out in support of the Durban and Coast SPCA’s policy to put down unclaimed or unwanted American pit bull terriers and pit bull cross-breeds without the option of adoption.

Animal rights and rescue organisations spoke out against the policy last week saying every dog, regardless of its breed, should be treated as an individual.

But Durban and Coast SPCA spokeswoman Caroline Smith said the policy was in place as the pitbull breed was “unpredictable”, and the organisation would not risk the safety of families by re-homing them.

Retired small-animal veterinarian Peter Hill said he “fully endorses the policy”.

“These immensely powerful dogs were originally bred in the US as fighting dogs – nobody can contradict this fact. When any dog is abandoned, it is usually for a reason and, in the case of this breed, one can only guess what that reason is… exhibiting an aggressive demeanour would be reason number one in my experience.”

Hill said there were many “lovely breeds” suitable for family pets, and questioned why anybody would want to take the risk of owning a pit bull, especially with children.

Gordon Smith (no relation to Caroline Smith) said he, too, supported the policy.

“Caroline Smith’s comments are perfectly correct, but left unsaid is the unfortunate fact that many low-life individuals try to source pit bulls wherever they can to get them to use in dog fighting.”

Another reader, Joanne Wood, vehemently disagreed, saying the SPCA should rather be targeting those who used pit bulls for fighting. She also accused the society of “taking the easy road out”.

Wood said any animal brought up in the wrong environment could become aggressive. - The Mercury