Durban - Dog owner Lloyd Eli Murthi had searched various township within the vicinity of Phoenix, praying his one-year-old pit bull, Mustang, was alive after he disappeared from his home in March.
And when he found him seven days later, tied to pole injured and without food and water, all he wanted to do was get him help.
“Since we found him, Mustang no longer sleeps on the veranda but indoors. He has occasional nightmares but is doing well."
"His temperament of being timid and calm remains the same,” said his relieved owner, who believes not enough is being done to track and stop dog fighting syndicates.
“Police need to work with animal rescue organisations to shut down these activities."
"How many more of our pets must get stolen and hurt before something is done?”
Murthi, 26, an employee at a courier company, said a week before the Easter weekend, Mustang disappeared from his home in Unit 10.
“He slept on the veranda and never left the yard without me or the family."
"On the morning of his disappearance, I went outside to look for him, but he was not there. I looked for signs on whether he had tried to escape, but everything was in order."
"I was quite worried because Mustang was part of the family.”
Murthi headed for his neighbour’s home, where he viewed CCTV footage from the previous night.
“Three boys, aged between 12 and 15, jumped over our fence and took Mustang."
"I was shocked and then it hit me that he was taken for dog fighting.”
He believed his pit bull was drugged as he had found a brown substance in his food.
“It looked like shavings from a biltong and we did not feed her any the previous night.”
Determined to find Mustang, Murthi took a week off from work to search for him.
He put up posters in his neighbourhood and messages on social media offering a reward of R5 000 to anyone who could help him locate his pet.
“I received some hoax calls by people who were just after the money."
"I drove to KwaMashu and Inanda a few times and enquired if anyone had seen my dog but only hit dead ends.”
His dad, Dickson, and Marc Chetty from Animal Rescue KZN saw his desperation and joined the search.
“I had sleepless nights thinking about what Mustang could be going through because these dog fights are brutal.
“On Easter Sunday, I received a call from someone telling me Mustang was spotted in Ntuzuma."
"I headed out alone and drove for hours but could not find him.”
He refused to give up and returned the following day with his dad and Chetty.
“A man, whose home I drove past about four times, told me he knew where Mustang was."
"We drove just outside Ntuzuma on a gravel road and came to a house.”
Murthi said he could see Mustang tied to a pole without water or food.
“I was so happy to see him. I ran to him and untied him from the pole."
"He had multiple injuries around his neck, head and body."
"He was dehydrated from being left tied in the sun. He was also very disorientated.”
A man living at the house told Murthi that his 15-year-old son had brought Mustang to the home.
“The father gave me permission to deal with his son for stealing my dog."
"But all I wanted to do was get my boy to a vet, and I left.”
Murthi has opened a case of theft at Phoenix SAPS.