An inspector from the NSPCA tending to a dog, wounded from dog fighting.
There are fears that a syndicate which is stealing dogs for dog fights, is operating in the greater Phoenix area.
Several dogs have been stolen in the sprawling township in the past few months. It is still not clear where the dogs are taken to, but reliable sources say the a dog fighting ring is in the Durban north area as well as KwaMashu and Inanda.
The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA), has urged community members to report dog fighting, promising whistle blowers to make it worth their while.
The NSPCA is offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest and prosecution of dog fighters.
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According to the council, dog fighting can be defined as a sadistic bloodsport ‘contest’ in which two dogs, trained to fight, are placed in a small arena to fight each other for the spectators entertainment and gambling purposes.
“It is a thriving and ever growing criminal activity in South Africa, supported by people from all walks of life and various backgrounds. Dog fights are not the work of a single law breaker but instead constitute a form of incredibly violent organised crime that is intricately linked to many other criminal activities,” said the council in a statement.
“Fighting dogs are denied their five freedoms – they 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. Those dogs who do not show sufficient fighting potential or lose in the pit fights are left to succumb to their untreated injuries or may be killed in the most brutal of manners such as by hanging, strangulation, electrocution, drowning or being beaten to death,” the statement read.
Southgate resident, Gary Govindsamy, said his rottweiler pup, Dre, was stolen from his gated and fenced yard on Sunday morning, March 17.
The suspect is believed to be a young male, who witnesses said was in the yard at about 6am.
Govindsamy said the witness believed nothing untoward, thinking members of the household were playing with his pets – the other also a larger rottweiler.
He said the family is devastated by the incident. “It’s hard to believe anyone would steal a dog. Criminals don’t care that people see their pets as members of the family. As soon as I get home from work, my dogs are the first to greet me, sure they sometimes mess up my suit but it’s a small price to pay for such unconditional love. We brought Dre home on Christmas day and, no matter how old you are, a puppy as a present never disappoints,” said Govindsamy.
A few months ago, the puppy had been infected with the deadly canine parvovirus which is a highly contagious disease that spreads among dogs through direct or indirect contact with their faeces.
The dog becomes infected through oral contact with infected soil or a substance capable of carrying infectious organisms.
The virus attacks rapidly dividing cells such as those in the intestinal lining and the bone marrow.
“We were shattered to hear that he was infected because we have heard of the epidemic and feared the worse. However, we put in the time and love day after day ensuring he was properly medicated and well fed. Before we knew it he was back to his happy, bubbly, bright self and was untimely torn away from his family by some pathetic excuse for a human being,” he said.
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This is the second known incident in the area within two days. The other dog stolen, a cross Alsatian/Siberian husky, was stolen from a gated home in Stonebridge Drive.
The Govindsamy family is offering a cash reward for Dre’s safe return and are pleading for any leads from the community that could help them find him.
Cpt Louise Naidoo, communications officer of Phoenix SAPS, said, “A case has been opened and is currently under investigation at the station. The case is being handled by Cnst SP Sithole. Anyone with information that may help with the case are asked to contact 031 507-6565.”
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