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Dog fighting tears at the moral fabric of society. It condones a level of violence and cruelty that not only has great consequences to the community that tolerates its existence but it also walks hand in hand with other criminal activities.
You are a role player in addressing this important issue and saving lives.
Caring South Africans and animal lovers countrywide were shocked and horrified at the images taken from the video footage that showed the prolonged suffering of a terrified street dog being used to train another dog to fight. Her mouth was tied firmly shut with duct tape and she was dragged along by a chain rendering her defenceless and with no chance of escaping the powerful dog which was set upon her in a frenzied attack. Inspectors were told during the investigation that this poor animal was used as training bait in a number of fights over a 3-day period. When she was so injured and weak that she was of no further use to the heartless dog fighters they let her final attacker maul her to death.
NSPCA investigations lead to the apprehension and arrest of the 8 perpetrators and the rescue of 8 dogs in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria. Amongst the animals rescued was a severely injured pitbull terrier that the Inspectors christened “Jasper” who was identified as being kept and used specifically for “fight training” purposes – much like the video footage victim. The perpetrators who stood trial were all found guilty of all the charges against them and currently await sentencing. This case is only one example of the multiple dogfighting cases that the Special Investigations Unit of the NSPCA currently holds in courts across the country.
The disturbing footage of the Atteridgeville bait dog case is just a small glimpse of the unrelenting and barbaric cruelty that accompanies a lifetime of suffering for all dogs forced into the violent, criminal world of dogfighting in whatever way.
Dogfighting can be defined as a sadistic bloodsport “contest” in which two dogs, trained to fight, are placed in a small arena to fight each other for the spectators’ entertainment and gambling purposes.
It is a thriving and ever-growing criminal activity in South Africa, supported by people from all walks of life and various backgrounds. Dog fights are not the work of a single lawbreaker but instead constitute a form of incredibly violent organised crime that is intricately linked to many other criminal activities.
It is a multimillion-rand industry with an intricate underground web ranging from impromptu events in a back alley with stolen dogs to a carefully planned and organised enterprise, using family bred dogs and held in a location specially designed and maintained for the purpose of showcasing this brutal event.
The American Pit Bull Terrier has become the most popular dog breed victim of this crime in South Africa. Dogs used for these fights can either be purpose bred for these fights or stolen from loving homes. Fighting dogs are denied their five freedoms – they are often antagonised, beaten, starved or injected with steroids to increase aggression. They spend their lives chained up or locked in small cages in filthy conditions. Those dogs who do not show sufficient fighting potential or lose in the pit fights are left to succumb to their untreated injuries or may be killed in the most brutal of manners such as by hanging, strangulation, electrocution, drowning or being beaten to death.
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Hundreds of man hours, countless meetings with prosecutors, magistrates, attorneys, pathologists, police officers and other law enforcement officials. Never ending bills for veterinarians, expert witnesses, forensic reports, additional fuel, vehicles, safety gear…. the list goes on. These are the statistics behind the raiding of a major dog fighting syndicate, and the stark reality of what the largest animal welfare organisation in Southern Africa, the NSPCA, faces.
Breaking up a dog fighting syndicate can quickly drain financial and personnel resources and without the vital support from the public we the NSPCA would not be able to continue this type of work.
The NSPCA Special Investigations Unit launched in 2014 and to date, the unit holds the highest number of successful dog fight raids in South Africa including the largest successful raid on a dogfighting syndicate since 1995. The Unit also ensured that each of the raids and resultant arrests are watertight cases that are accepted for prosecution under the Animals Protection Act which prohibits all aspects of animal fighting in South Africa.
The participants in dog fighting are well aware they are engaged in illegal activities so they create a fraternity type of atmosphere, instilling fear of retaliation to discourage informants and create a double life image through involvement in legitimate dog sports activities.
The secrecy surrounding these activities is at the highest level, so the NSPCA appeals to you the public to keep us informed on possible dog fighting activities.
The NSPCA is ruthless in our quest to action this blood sport. We commit to bringing those involved in this barbaric cruelty to justice and to vigorously pursuing all who partake in or support the illegal activity of dog fighting in any way.