WATCH | Pit bulls: Killing machines or loving pets? The petition that's dividing South Africans

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  • A spate of pit bull terrier attacks across the country has sparked a heated debate about responsible pet ownership.
  • The Sizwe Kupelo Foundation has called for a ban "of these bloodthirsty animals".
  • In this feature video, News24 speaks to the National Council of SPCAs, Sizwe Kupelo, a pit bull attack survivor and an owner to find out where they stand.

Vicious killing machines or loving pets? Pit bull terriers are dividing South Africans.

The Sizwe Kupelo Foundation wants to have pit bulls banned as domestic pets. It started an online petition after a 10-year-old boy from Gqeberha was killed by his family's two pit bulls.

Kupelo told News24 that pit bulls needed to be classified as wild animals.

"This is an immediate threat that needs to be dealt with," he said.

Several children have been mauled to death and adults have been left seriously injured in a spate of pit bull attacks across the country this year, sparking heated debate about responsible pet ownership in South Africa. 

READ | These are not pets': Man gives away his two pit bulls after news of child mauled to death

The number of people calling for pit bulls to be banned has significantly increased in recent days following the death of Olebogeng Mosime, an 8-year-old who was mauled to death by a pit bull in Bloemfontein over the weekend.

The Bloemfontein SPCA has since called on the public to hand over their aggressive dogs for safekeeping.

But despite the growing number of signatures, pit bull owners are adamant that their dogs are loving pets who are there to protect them.

Olebogeng Mosime smiling in school uniform
Olebogeng Mosime, 8, was mauled to death by a pit bull.

One owner who spoke to News24 on condition of anonymity said he previously had several pit bulls, and they had not attacked anyone or displayed signs of being wild.

"I'm against the petition because my mother stays alone, and the crime in my area is high. The dogs keep her safe," the owner said. He described Bruno, a mixed pit bull terrier, as his own son.

READ | 'Its behaviour was like that of a lion': Woman recalls how pit bull mauled her grandson to death

A pit bull breeder who also spoke on condition of anonymity said the way pit bulls were raised was incredibly important.

In this feature video, News24 speaks to the National Council of SPCAs, Sizwe Kupelo, the petition's creator, a pit bull attack survivor and an owner to find out where they stand.

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