How to recognise dog fighting

Recent incidents of dogs that were badly injured and abused, made you realise again that dog fighting is a reality in the community.

This pit bull stared up nervously at his rescuers from where he was curled up in the mud. The injuries and infections deep into his ears made it difficult for him to hear and his injured eye impaired his vision

The South African law (Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962) stipulates that it is a crime to:
• be involved in any manner 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;
• incite/encourage or allow any animal to attack another animal or proceed to fight;
• allow any one of these activities to take place on a property you own, live or have control of;
• promote animal fighting for money or entertainment;
• rent your property or allow the property you manage to be used for animal fighting purposes;
• watch a dog fight. Even being a spectator at a dog fight is a criminal offence, as is being on the same property where the dog fighting is taking place.

Dog fighting is a premeditated and cruel practice of encouraging and inciting two dogs to attack and fight each other until one of the dogs is either killed or is too injured and exhausted to continue fighting. Dogs used for fighting suffer terrible injuries such as crushed and broken bones, ripped flesh, deep puncture wounds, torn muscles, broken teeth, severe bruising and internal injuries. The dogs often die as a result of these injuries, from blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion and infection.

But how do you recognise the presence of dog fighting and how can you help?
According to the NSPCA, signs of possible dog fighting activities include
• pit bulls kept on heavy chains or confined in small areas like alleys, garages or cages;
• residences or properties with multiple pit bulls that are not sterilized, socialised or unfriendly to other animals;
• pit bulls that have evidence of repeated injuries. Dogs with multiple scars or injuries on their bodies, especially their faces, front legs, chests, hind legs, thighs and ears;
• purpose built fighting pits or makeshift lightning areas with blood stains on floors and walls;
• the presence of training equipment such as slat mills, treadmills, spring poles or break sticks, or veterinary drugs or supplies and steroids;
• frequent or regular change in dogs at a specific property. as dogs are killed, new animals are purchased or stolen; and
• groups of pit bulls being walked at unusual hours, especially late at night.

If you suspect that dog fighting is taking place in your area, call your local
SPCA or NSPCA.

According to information, the master brains behind the whole despicable sport drive around with cars and they appoint “handlers” who get rewarded by them. Hundreds of dogs are stolen daily for these practises.

The local SPCA contact number is 079 398 6784 and NSPCA 011 907 3590 or send an email to specialinvestigations@mspca.co.za. You can remain anonymous and your identity will be protected.

The NSPCA offers an award of R15 000 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of dog fighters.

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