6 sent to jail for illegal dog fighting, 14 pit bulls rescued

2019-05-27 17:23

Six people have been convicted and sentenced to jail for their involvement in illegal dog fighting.

Kamogelo Mpiyane, Tshepo Aubrey Sejabatho, Enos Makhamatha, Jabu Phillip Mabena and Samuel Mashilo Mothiba were all sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment - with no option of a fine - by the Atteridgeville Magistrate's Court. 

Magistrate JC Kruger found them guilty of the possession of 14 pit bulls for the purpose of dog fighting, and other animal cruelty-related offences.

Samuel Ribane was also sentenced to 12 months for simply watching the dog fight. Kruger said that Ribane had had ample time to distance himself from the criminal activities, but chose not to.

Mabena was sentenced to a further six months for the torture of a dog named Mia.

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), in 2018, rescued the dogs which had been living in atrocious conditions in Atteridgeville.

"Mia was kept in a cold, dark room, chained so tightly to the roof rafters above that she couldn't lie down. She was sick from disease and infected wounds, and was unable to even reach water," said senior inspector Wendy Willson, manager of the Special Investigations Unit.

pitbull

In his sentencing, Kruger said the crimes that the accused were guilty of were "pointless and perverse". The sentence had to serve as a warning to others involved in associated activities, Kruger said.

In this year alone, 12 people have been sentenced to prison time - ranging from 12 months to five years - for their participation in dog fighting activities, the NSCPA said on its website.

The NSPCA specifically lists dog fighting as a heinous form of cruelty.

Animal abuse linked to abuse of people

"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 law breaker, but instead constitute a form of incredibly violent organised crime that is intricately linked to many other criminal activities."

Belinda Abrahams, spokesperson for the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, previously told News24 that judges and magistrates were also looking at cases of animal abuse more seriously.

"The increasing seriousness with which the courts are viewing crimes against animals is becoming more and more evident, and the National Council of SPCAs has just succeeded in the prosecution of three individuals involved in the crime of dog fighting, including one who was only a spectator.

"All three received direct imprisonment sentences of 32 months and 10 months respectively. Additionally, they were declared by the court to be unfit to own any species of animal in the future."

Abuse of animals was usually linked to the abuse of people, Abrahams added.

"Animal abuse is often used as a threat, to compel compliance or to silence a victim. Individuals who commit violent acts against a vulnerable entity such as animals are up to nine times more likely to commit violent acts against vulnerable people, such as women and children."

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