Paws for thought with Caroline Smith

Posted on 1/12/2017 3:10:52 PM

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If you’ve been to the cinema recently, you might have seen the NSPCA advertisement aimed at creating awareness around the scourge of organised dog fighting. Although the majority of cases under investigation are in Gauteng and the Western Cape, there is little doubt that dog fighting is rife throughout the country – and statistics show that it is on the increase.

Because dog fighting is illegal, it takes place under a blanket of secrecy with perpetrators going to extreme lengths to ensure they are not discovered. Contrary to what you might have heard, this violent blood sport is not confined to low income areas where people are uneducated and unemployment is high. It also takes place in affluent areas amongst educated individuals who hold professional positions.

Apart from the appalling suffering endured by fighting dogs and hapless ‘bait’ animals that are usually torn to shreds during training, the ‘sport’ has far reaching and damaging effects on the community, especially children and youth who are exposed to it. A lack of empathy and compassion for animals is irrefutably linked to violence and crime against humans.

Of special concern to pet owners is the possibility of beloved dogs being stolen by dog fighting rings. Last year a Port Elizabeth couple returned home to find their Staffordshire terrier missing from their yard. The dog was discovered a week later chained up in a local township. Her teeth had been filed into sharp points and she had been given steroid injections to build muscle for fighting. According to a local resident, this was not the first dog stolen for dog fighting.

Owners of preferred dog fighting breeds – such as pit bulls, bull terriers, staffies and boerbulls – are encouraged to be especially vigilant. Be wary of strangers in the neighbourhood, especially friendly ones who ask questions about your dog. Make sure your dog can’t get out of the yard and keep the gates locked. Never leave your dog alone in the car, or tied up outside a store.

Above all, if you suspect dog fighting activity, report it immediately to the SPCA and/or the police.



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