- The SPCA has removed seven dogs used for dog-fighting in Parkwood, Grassy Park.
- Criminal charges will be laid against the people involved.
- The dogs are being kept at the SPCA.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA on Thursday rescued seven dogs, including three pit bull terrier pups that were being trained for dog-fighting in Parkwood, Grassy Park.
SPCA inspectors, together with the City of Cape Town's Law Enforcement Animal Control Unit, launched an investigation after video footage of puppies being trained to fight was handed to the organisation.
The video footage was allegedly taken this week. It shows a group of youngsters, some as young as seven years old, enticing the pups to attack each other.
The estimated age of the pups is approximately four months.
"The pups were being trained to become fighting dogs. When the pups did not want to attack each other, they were antagonised to continue fighting. The one puppy tried to get away but was unable to as he was held tightly on a leash, [and was] forced to defend himself," said SPCA spokesperson Jaco Pieterse.
The SPCA arrived at the property with a court order and found two of the puppies seen in the video footage. The team immediately seized the two puppies and some other dogs in accordance with the Animals Protection Act, read together with Regulation 468. The entire property was searched, and further evidence was gathered.
This resulted in the team also raiding two other premises.
The team then seized four more dogs.
Adult pit bull terrier breed dogs were also found. They had severe old and new scarring and wounds associated with dog-fighting. The dogs were kept in dirty and parasitic conditions.
The SPCA said it was in the process of laying criminal charges, including dogfighting and animal cruelty, against the culprits.
"I am always shocked at people's understanding of what it means to be kind to animals when they keep them in appalling living conditions and use them for fighting purposes. None of these dogs deserved the suffering they had to endure because of blood-hungry individuals," said SPCA Inspector Mark Syce.
The rescued dogs have been placed at a place of safety.
"Dog-fighting is a barbaric sport and has no place in modern society. The rescued dogs are being kept at an undisclosed location for their own safety and the safety of our staff," Pieterse said.
The SPCA has warned animal lovers that dog-fighting is illegal in South Africa. Any person found guilty of involvement in dog-fighting is liable for a fine of R80 000 and/or imprisonment of up to 24 months and will get a criminal record, according to the organisation.
"It is a crime to be involved in any way with the fighting of animals or to own, keep, train, or breed animals used for fighting. It is also illegal to buy, sell or import these animals. Moreover, it is a criminal offence to incite/encourage or allow any animal to attack another animal or proceed to fight. It is a crime to promote animal fighting for monetary gain or entertainment," the SPCA said.
Pieterse said it was also a crime to allow dog-fighting and related activities on a property you own, live on, or have control over. He said it was also a crime to watch dog-fighting.
He called on members of the public to report dog-fighting to the SPCA by emailing email@example.com or calling 021 700 4158/9 during office hours.