A few months ago, Johannesburg residents on their way to work were horrified at a brazen attempt to ‘advertise’ an American Pit Bull Terrier fight on a trailer billboard. The National Council of SPCAs was inundated with calls from angry animal lovers about the advertisement. People took to social media to voice their views on this blatant attempt to garner support for an illegal and savage blood sport.
Within three hours, the Special Investigations Unit of the NSPCA revealed that they had initiated the advertisement as a campaign to make the public aware that dog fighting is rife in this country. NSPCA senior inspector and manager of the Special Investigations Unit, Wendy Willson, says: “We needed a drastic measure to prevent a drastic crime. People sat up and took notice, their initial anger turning into much-needed action. We received phenomenal support from the public.”
About dog fighting
Any form of animal fighting is 100% illegal in South Africa as set out in the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962. Despite this,dog fighting as a ‘sport’ is thriving around the country, in both rural and urban centres.
In higher levels of dog fighting, two dogs, who are specifically bred, trained and conditioned to fight, square up against each other in a fighting pit. The dogs are spurred on by their handlers and encouraged to keep fighting until one dog is killed or too injured to continue.
Fighting dogs are subjected to a cruel existence, often being kept in very confined conditions,small cages or spending most of their lives on heavy chains.
“During fights the dogs sustain horrendous injuries, like deep wounds, torn muscles, soft tissue damage, and crushed and broken bones,” says Willson. “Some dogs may die at the fight or shortly afterwards as a result of their injuries, dehydration, shock or blood loss, while others succumb to their injuries days later as infection sets into the wounds.”
6 things you didn’t know about dog fighting
- Dog fighting is linked to other crimes
- There are different ‘levels’ of dog fighting
- People from all walks of life are involved – it might even be someone you know
- The American Pit Pull Terrier is most often victim of this horrendous crime
- Bait dogs are not a traditional dog fight ‘training method’
- Other animals are also victims of dog fighting
If you suspect that dog fighting is happening in your community, contact the NPSCA’s Special Investigations Unit on 011 907 3590 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can remain anonymous.
Read the full article in the October issue of Animaltalk.