Seen as a quick source of income, illegal dog fighting has steadily increased in Durban townships, hence the rise in dog theft.
According to animal rescuers, dog-fighting rings are operating in at least nine locations in the greater Durban area: Verulam, Phoenix, uMlazi, Merebank, Chatsworth, Mariannhill, Shongweni Valley, Hammarsdale and Drummond. Pets in these areas are at high risk of being stolen.
Reportedly, a stolen bull terrier can cost from R3,000 to R8,000, and a pit bull can fetch between R1,500 and R3,000.
Apart from dogs of these breeds, the organisers of dog fights are ready to accept any others since they also need lapdogs. Lapdogs are usually used as bait to fire-up the aggression in the big dogs before the actual fight where bets can go as high as R300,000.
Allegedly, the targeted dogs are captured when they eat meat with chloroform. Male dogs can also be lured with the use of a female dog in heat.
David Hardwick, a partner at Serendi-Pitty Rescue, said that it was very difficult to track the criminals as the dates and venues were often changed. Usually, a syndicate leader would alert people to when and where the fights are to take place.
The NSPCA’s Nadia Hansa stated it always acted on information about dog-fighting but because of the underground nature of the crime, the investigations usually took a long time. She also added that those found guilty of involvement in dog fighting could be sentenced to two years’ imprisonment per charge.
If you have any relevant information that can help the NSPCA Special Investigations Unit to curb the illegal dog-fighting, call 0119073590.