“ALL dogs deserve a loving home, but when these dogs become commodities, and are bred for profit, it doesn’t matter how well meaning or qualified the breeders are. “If we wish to put an end to the gross pet overpopulation problem and provide loving forever homes for dogs in need of them, there is no real justification for the perpetuation of dog breeding.”These are the words of Beverley Rademeyer from the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL). Following the plight of the overpopulation of dogs due to illegal breeding throughout the metro, which results in animal cruelty and neglect, the local animal organisations have come together to plea with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to help them in their fight against the scourge. According to these organisations, imposing fines on the illegal dog breeders could assist in bringing the transgressors to book. “No matter how you look at the issue, breeding remains problematic and results in overflowing shelters,” Rademeyer said. She added that in most animal shelters every cage was full and dogs kept coming.“The dogs come in as strays or are abandoned while many others are surrendered.“What really breaks my heart is that in as much as we would love to rescue all the dogs, it’s just not possible.”Rademeyer explained that one of the biggest misconceptions that people had was that domestic animals could be bred for sustainability. “This cannot be further from the truth. Domestic animals do not serve that purpose. “It is only commercial animals – sheep, cattle, chickens and more – that can be bred by means of ensuring sustainability.”She also emphasised that education is key. “People need to be educated on what the law requires of them and also about the health aspects that are involved.” “They have a responsibility to care for their animals.”She said, “All we want is for the municipality to come forward and hear our cry.”Many dogs are euthanised in shelters every year because of a lack of space, resources, and people who are willing to adopt these animals.Replying to the measures that the municipality had put in place to involve more people in the plight, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said they established a dedicated dog control unit which responds to matters related to illegal dog breeding.“Our subdirectorate is aware of the problem of stray animals and the dog control unit is responsible for collecting stray animals which are reported to the municipality,” he said.However, the petition drafted by the local animal organisations states that the dog control unit is only tasked with enforcing the by-laws and does not deal with cases of cruelty or neglect.Currently fines are not issued in terms of the by-laws.“That is why we are pleading to the municipality to fine illegal dog breeders,” Rademeyer said.“These fines can then be channelled back to fund sterilisations and animal welfare.“Our main focus is sterilisation as we believe this can help in curbing the issue of overbreeding.”Mniki said the municipal subdirectorate is not yet in possession of the petition relating to fining illegal dog breeders, “however, the municipal by-laws are clear on this matter; no one is allowed to breed dogs without municipal consent”.He assured that there were plans in place to give the dog control unit the capacity to do their job better.To sign the petition click here.