The share and comment button on Facebook was melting on Monday afternoon, 9 November 2020, following a post which claimed dog fighting was taking place in Barry Hertzog Park, Newcastle.
The Facebook user posted an image showing two young men with their dogs on leashes—with animal lovers left fuming at the post and looking to clear the air, the Newcastillian – Online News followed up on the matter, determined to get to the root of the issue.
Speaking to Heather Gero of Newcastle SPCA, the biggest problem faced with the post was the lack of usable evidence. Gero explains, “The two dogs were on leashes, and according to the law when taking your dog for a walk, they are required to be on a leash. Which these dogs were.”
Admitting she has heard of dogfighting in Newcastle, Gero stresses this incident might not have been the traditional form of dogfighting which some might assume. Rather, it could have merely been two dogs fighting.
However, the harsh reality remains, dog fighting still exists within the community. Hidden within the shadows, away from prying eyes.
Gero stresses, “We have heard of it happening in town, but there is no evidence. If people witness dogfighting, they are urged to take a video, and we can then take it to the National Council of SPCA (NSPCA) who deals with this crime.”
The NSCPA has a special investigation unit which deals specifically with this horrendous crime. But for the unit to succeed in bringing perpetrators to book, hard evidence is required.
Dealing with rescue dogs, Newcastle Animal Rescue KZN was also approached to establish if there was any truth to dog fights taking place in Newcastle. Joyce Addicott explains that to date, their organisation has not had any dogs who had been victims of this horrendous crime.
Yet, this does not mean dogfighting is not taking place in Newcastle. Addicott clarifies, “We have heard there was dog fighting taking place in Arbor Park. However, we do not have the necessary authority to investigate. This is why it is so important for people to have evidence. With the relevant evidence, we can approach both the police and SPCA. The matter can then be investigated, and the source of the problem can be addressed.”
Looking at the emotional effects of dogfighting, Joyce stresses that the scars of dogfighting run deeper than mere physical wounds. She points out, “It has an emotional impact on the dogs, especially Pit Bulls.”
According to Addicott, Pit Bulls are by nature, extremely loving dogs but are capable of extraordinary physical strength, which is why they are sought after. But the fighting leaves an atrocious impact on their mental and emotional health.
If people have knowledge of dogfighting in Newcastle, be sure to report the incident to both the SAPS and the SPCA. However, it is paramount to have factual evidence to ensure offenders face the full might of the law.
We hope this clears up the rumours circulating throughout the community.
And as always, share your thoughts with us below.
Author: Quinton Boucher
Edited: Calvin Swemmer