Thirteen suspects arrested at an especially bloody and brutal dog-fighting event on the East Rand in Johannesburg on Nov. 3 have been denied bail by the Tsakane Magistrate’s Court on Monday, November 11.
Fourteen Pit Bulls were removed and 18 people were arrested during the National SPCA raid. Police released five of them.
Este Kotze, deputy chief executive of the NSPCA, was on scene. What she saw was some of the worst cruelty she had witnessed while working for the NSPCA, she said.
An anonymous tip-off and an undercover operation led to what turned out to be the biggest dog-fighting syndicate bust in 18 years. With the help of the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA), police raided the premises in Tsakane, Ekurhuleni, while illegal dog fights were under way.
“Violent and organized dog fighting was in progress when the NSPCA task team arrived,” spokesperson Kotze told reporters. She said she was shocked at the reality and at the terrible violence experienced by the dogs.
“Some of the dogs had severe bite marks to their faces and chests and were in extreme pain. It was really heartbreaking to see. You can’t believe the human race can do this.”
Kotze said several of the dogs had to be euthanized at the site as there was little hope of them making a recovery.
“The dogs often die of blood loss, shock, dehydration, exhaustion, or even days after the fight they very seldom receive proper veterinary attention for their injuries.”
She said none of the dogs rescued were stolen pets. Each dog had been bred for fighting.
The surviving dogs, which were American Pit Bull-type breeds, were taken to a place of safety.
On Nov. 11, National SPCA Director Jaco Pzieterse said,“We are saddened that eight of the remaining dogs removed during the dog fighting bust had to be euthanized by a veterinarian due to the seriousness and extent of their injuries and suffering.”
Kotze said illegal dog fighting had become a huge problem, particularly in the Western Cape.
“We hope we have sent a message to them,” she said.