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Newcastle’s dirty secret, dogfighting and what you should know

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A faithful companion, a dog is one of the few creatures on earth which embodies the definition of unconditional love.

Despite the undying love and affection dogs bestow on humans, there are people who exploit dogs at every corner. Often doing so in the most vicious and ruthless sense. 

Despite being illegal in South Africa, dogfighting takes place in and around South Africa. Highly organised syndicates hosting events at an array of venues across the country. 

According to the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), dogfighting tears at the moral fabric of society. It condones a level of violence and cruelty that not only has great consequences to the community that tolerates its existence, but it also walks hand in hand with other criminal activities.

These criminal activities involve people’s beloved dogs being stolen, only to be thrown in a ring and be viciously ripped apart. All for the love of money and perverse entertainment.

But surely this does not happen in Newcastle?

Heather Gero of the Newcastle SPCA explains that this atrocious crime does unfortunately take place in Newcastle. “There are incidents in Newcastle and its surrounding areas. However, the people who can let us know where and when these incidents take place, are not coming forward. They don’t want to get involved and this leaves us with no proof,” says a dismayed Heather.

The NSPCA explains dogfighting is a multimillion-rand industry with an intricate underground web ranging from impromptu events in a back alley with stolen dogs to a carefully planned and organised enterprise, using family bred dogs and held in a location specially designed and maintained for the purpose of showcasing this brutal event.

With a special dedicated unit which focuses on dogfighting and bringing perpetrators to book, Heather encourages people to come forward and do their part in saving the lives of innocent dogs.

The NSPCA Special Investigations Unit launched in 2014. According to the NSPCA, to date, the unit holds the highest number of successful dog fight raids in South Africa.

The Unit also ensured that each of the raids and resultant arrests are watertight cases and are accepted for prosecution under the Animals Protection Act, which prohibits all aspects of animal fighting in South Africa.

But what do we exactly know about dogfighting?

The NSPCA explains animals involved in dogfighting are often antagonised, beaten, starved or injected with steroids to increase aggression. They spend their lives chained up or locked in small cages in filthy conditions. 

Dogs who do not show sufficient fighting potential or lose in the pit fights are left to succumb to their untreated injuries. Or they may be killed in the most brutal of manners such as by hanging, strangulation, electrocution, drowning or being beaten to death. 

The American Pit Bull Terrier has become the most popular dog breed victim of this crime in South Africa. 

But how can you help stop dogfighting?

If you suspect dogfighting is taking place in your vicinity, you can contact the NSPCA on 011 907 3590 or on specialinvestigations@nscpa.co.za.

People reporting dog fights will have their identity protected and can report the cases anonymously.

In the year 2020, we have proven how quickly change can occur, good or bad. Thus, just get up off your chair and let us sort this out once and for all 

Will you make a difference in the life of an animal? Or will you turn your back?

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