Dogfighting in South Africa increased by 500 percent between 2012 and 2016. The proliferation of the blood sport has been aided by the large sums of money involved in betting. The cost of the fights, however, is certainly not borne by the betters – dogs are severely wounded and often killed in the most brutal of ways.
The tireless work of the NSPCA and the SAPS has resulted in sentences of direct imprisonment being handed down to two perpetrators apprehended in Atteridgeville, west of Pretoria, in late June of this year. The NSPCA has released the following statement:
DIRECT IMPRISONMENT FOR ATTERIDGEVILLE DOGFIGHTERS
On the night of 22 June 2018, with the blood of their dogs still fresh on their hands, two men tried to evade National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) inspectors and South African Police Services (SAPS) K9 officers after having made their Pit bull Terriers participate in a violent organised dog fight.
Today, all those who worked tirelessly that night to secure the apprehension of nine accused men and the rescue of 14 dogs celebrate the ruling of the honourable Magistrate P. Lourens who sentenced two of the accused to direct imprisonment without suspension or the option of a fine, stating that “It is necessary that this evil be addressed- because this, is evil”.
During sentencing Magistrate Lourens spoke to how organised dogfighting encourages and condones a level of cruelty that is abhorrent and detestable in the mind of any reasonable or civilised person and that we have reached a level of civilisation and constitutional values where a clear message has to be sent out to the people who want to commit these heinous and barbaric acts, that they will be punished and not just acknowledged.
The decision of the two accused to plead guilty became a neutral factor in the face of the evidence against them. Their relative youth, although usually a mitigating factor, was also discounted due to the viciousness of their deeds outweighing their immaturity and the premeditated nature of their actions.
In addition to imprisonment the accused were also declared unfit to own firearms or own or care for any species of animal of any kind for five years.
The Court thanked veterinarian Dr. Bryce Marock as well as Senior Inspector Wendy Willson and Inspector Nadia Hansa of the NSPCA’s Special Investigations Unit for their testimonials, recognising their dedication and the sacrifices that a Non-Profit Organisation would incur to battle and combat this crime.
The dogs in question paid with their lives for the sick satisfaction of others and the NSPCA wishes to thank State Prosecutor Vuyo Lutywantsi for his professional and swift handling of the case, the community members of Atteridgeville who’s sense of morality and reporting of the crime resulted in justice for all, the donations of caring South Africans and the support of the DogsTrust Worldwide, without which, rescues of this nature simply would not be possible.
The court case against the remaining seven accused continues on 13 November 2018.