Africa-Press – South-Africa. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is offering a R5000 reward for information that could lead to the positive identification, arrest and prosecution of the persons involved in the fatal attack on three pit bull dogs in Gatesville a week ago.
It’s understood that residents attacked the dogs after they had mauled a girl at a local field. The child sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital.
SPCA spokesperson Marisol Gutierrez said it would be “nonsensical to assert that our offer of a R5000 reward is indicative of a preference for pets rather than people.”
“Cruelty to animals is against the law and our offer of a reward is directly linked to holding the perpetrators of horrific animal abuse accountable, as our mandate requires. As a movement, we care about animals and people – and we have seen time and time again that where there are situations involving problems with animals, there are almost always problems affecting people, too,” Gutierrez added.
According to the SPCA, its mission is the prevention of cruelty to animals and for the most part, it is impossible to separate the welfare of animals from the actions of people.
The organisation said it is still continuing its investigation into the brutal killing of the three dogs by the community.
“Many breeds have been in the spotlight because of attacks over the years. Let’s also remember that any dog can bite. These dogs (pit bulls) have been thrust into the spotlight because of the tragic attacks on children,” said Gutierrez.
“It is a complex subject. Many of these problems are linked to the irresponsible breeding and ownership of power breeds. There needs to be tighter regulation around power breeds – as well as enforcement of these regulations,” she added.
When asked if the SPCA has seen a noticeable increase in pit bulls being handed over to them, she said “we have seen an increase in all breeds of dogs being handed over, including pit bull-type dogs.”
In a statement the City of Cape Town said that since July last year they have impounded more than 800 dogs, received more than 200 complaints of dog-fighting and that more than 150 dockets have been compiled for attacks on animals and people.
“The City’s Animal Control Unit is in the process of compiling a docket pertaining to the attack on the young girl for the Directorate for Public Prosecutions to make a determination on the way forward,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
“We are committed to ensuring that we do not see a repeat of the events [which occurred] earlier this week, and that is why the city is working closely with the SPCA and the Cape Animal Welfare Forum to find solutions, but also to raise the level of understanding and awareness around animal welfare and the responsibility of dog owners towards public safety.
“Our Animal Control Unit statistics show a clear increase in the number of dogs impounded over the course of this year, but also dog-fighting complaints and dockets for investigation into attacks on other animals or people. We reiterate the point that the problem lies with the people in whose care these dogs find themselves,’ Smith added.
Among the provisions of the Animals protection Act, are that any person who overloads, overdrives, overrides, ill-treats, neglects, infuriates, tortures or maims or cruelly beats, kicks, goads or terrifies any animal, shall be subject to the provisions of this Act and any other law, be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding R40 000 and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to such imprisonment without the option of a fine.
“We condemn in the strongest terms any cruelty to animals, which is against the law. We urge people to contact law enforcement if there is an issue with dogs roaming the streets, or an aggressive animal in a public space. It serves no purpose to demonise any breed. It only instils fear and achieves no positive outcome,” the SPCA added.