The day this pastor couldn’t get his pit bull out of his neighbour’s house is the day he gave it up

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Dr Buti Kenny with Rocky, his pit bull, before he gave him up to the SPCA.
Dr Buti Kenny with Rocky, his pit bull, before he gave him up to the SPCA.

When he read news reports of children being mauled by pit bulls, he was left with a tough decision to make.

It wasn’t easy, the Cape Town doctor admits to Drum, but he couldn’t imagine having to go through the trauma of being responsible for the actions of his furry friend.

So he gave him up.

“The problem started when Rocky refused to get out of the house when he entered the house," says Dr Buti Kenny.

"There was also a time when I struggled to take him out, and he started to bark at me.

"I said to myself, ‘Okay, let me calm down and let him enjoy his time and then later on he will go out'."

But more unsettling moments were to follow for the theology doctorate-holder and his furry friend.

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“I noticed that he was barking at me and thought, maybe he is just upset. But there was a time where he went outside the yard and got inside my neighbour’s house.

"She had to get out of her own house, and I tried to get Rocky out but he barked at me. Now my own dog is barking at me in front of my neighbour, which means I cannot control my dog in my neighbour’s house.

"I had to call my wife to assist and she also failed."

Dr Kenny says he was forced to get a belt.

“I did not have a choice – and I don’t treat pets like that. But now he had anger issues, and I had to forcefully get him out of my neighbour's house.

"He became so uncontrollable, he hadn’t done anything wrong but he became a problem.

“Then on social media I saw people posting what pit bulls are doing to kids. I went to YouTube to find out more about these breeds, and it was only then that I started doing my research on pit bulls, while I already had one, and that was completely wrong.”

Dr Kenney says he had a lot of fear when Rocky went to his neighbour’s house. “I was embarrassed that I cannot control my own dog in my neighbour’s house and thought what worse could it do to other people if I cannot control it because it means it can endanger someone right in front me.”

So the Capetonian made the difficult decision to give up his precious fur baby and made an almost one-and-a-half-hour drive to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

“I loved Rocky. But, when I saw that I cannot control him and he was becoming extremely stubborn, I didn’t want to see his other side. I had fear."

"That’s why I decided to take it to SPCA before the trend of handing pit bulls over to the SPCA started,” Dr Kenny says.

The pastor regrets not having done some research about the dog breed before getting a pit bull.

“I used to see people walking around with such beautiful pit bull puppies. I loved how it looked, it was cute, you know love at first sight. Then I decided that since I have lost a dog, let me replace him with a pit bull and name it after my late dog.

"But my mistake was not to do a lot of research about it.”

Dr Kenny has love animals since he was a little boy.

“We had many pets at home, you know cats, dogs . . . I grew up in an environment like that. And I was the one who mostly took care of them.”

He says he “bought Rocky from a mutual friend who had pit bulls which gave birth to puppies”.

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“At first he was very cute. He came as a small puppy, and my family grew very fond of Rocky because he was so firmly loving, playful and we would tease him, saying, ‘hey wena you’re discriminating’ because he was always on my feet.

"Yes, he would play with others but always came back to my feet after some few minutes. He loved the house, he didn’t want to stay outside.

"There was a time I built a kennel for him outside, but I saw how he lost weight, which told me that he was not at ease, and I had to take him back into the house again,” he giggles.

“We had a wonderful relationship to the point that whenever he was hungry, I’d know what he does. Even if I forget that I did not feed him at a particular time, I knew how he would behave to signal his hungry.”

When Dr Kenny started noticing some alarming things about his furry friend's behaviour, he recalls being confused about how the dog would aggressively bark at him and he would, sometimes, lose control over Rocky.

“I started to notice bad signs. There were times when I had to forcefully take him out of the house because he was now big and if a dog is like that, it messes up everywhere in the house. We took him outside and he adjusted to the change, even though it was not easy.

“I was so hurt when I had to hand him over. To travel from my house to the SPCA is like an hour and 30 minutes, it is far. Along the way, I thought of turning back because I love Rocky, he hadn’t done anything harmful yet, but prevention is better than cure.

“I was protecting myself, family and neighbours from the danger that might occur.

“As I reached the SPCA, I saw people coming in with their dogs for check-ups, and treatment but here I was coming to drop off Rocky.

"I miss him a lot, honestly. But I had to make compromises for safety."

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