The NSPCA stands in solidarity with the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation for the protection of our people- especially the vulnerable, who are the most common victims of dog attacks. Although the NSPCAs mandate is the prevention of cruelty to animals and promoting good animal care – the NSPCA also values human lives.
Recently, there has been widespread media coverage on dog attacks against humans- with Pitbull Terriers becoming the notorious representative of the attacks, although other breeds of dog have also been responsible for attacks.
Not only do people suffer from dog attacks, other animals have also been victim to dog attacks and have been mauled to death. The aggressive animals themselves have also been found subjected to extreme abuse and cruelty in the manner in which they are kept, trained, and even killed. This is an issue where both human and animal life have been placed in danger by irresponsible people who lack the skills and knowledge required to handle power-breeds.
At first glance, the petition may appear to be outrageous, especially to Pitbull owners, however, upon careful reflection, the petition advocates for the protection of people and responsible pet ownership. The petition calls for all Pitbulls to be castrated/sterilized which would prevent the current rate of uncontrolled breeding. The petition also calls for stronger regulations for the keeping of Pitbulls (and other power-breed animals) requiring owners to have permits to keep such animals.
Dog breeds with the potential to be aggressive and cause harm to other animals and people are easily obtained. In the hands of uniformed or irresponsible people, the dogs can become a risk to the people in their communities. Too often, Pitbulls are acquired by irresponsible people to portray an image of ‘power’, for dog fighting, breeding and/ or for security purposes. These dogs are incited and trained to become human and animal aggressive, and very quickly the animal becomes high risk. All too often these dogs live compromised lives in cages or on chains which typically leads to an increase in aggression and further increases the risk of attack.
According to Section 10 of the Animals Protection Act no 71 of 1962, Minister Thokozile Didiza has the authority to promulgate new regulations in terms of the petition put forward by the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation.
As the media continues to report on the dangers of owning power-breed dogs, the NSPCA foresees a number of people no longer wanting their dogs. The NSPCA urges all owners who no longer wish to keep their dogs to take them to their local SPCA, animal welfare shelter, or private veterinarian. It is without a doubt that SPCAs, which are not funded by the Government and most recently excluded from LOTTO funding, will now have to bear the brunt and added expense of dealing with even more unwanted animals being surrendered to the SPCA.
If you are in possession of an aggressive animal, by law, you are compelled to ensure that the animal is kept within the confines of your property and in a manner that meets the needs of the animals in terms of the Animals Protection Act and the Five Freedoms.
This petition should not result in the demonising of Pitbulls but in finding a humane and cohesive way forward to protect the human and animal victims in this issue. The SPCA movement remains committed to the protection of all animals against any cruelty and suffering.