GEORGE NEWS - A Facebook post about an alleged dog fight sparked a massive outcry among George animal lovers on Sunday afternoon, 17 February.
In a cry for help and not sure who to contact, Chantel Booyse turned to the local Facebook page, Georgiete Staan Saam, when she saw people inciting their dogs to fight.
"We were on our way home from Island Lake at approximately 17:00 when I saw about eight men with dogs on the Thembalethu side of the fence. I looked again and saw them hitting the dogs with sticks, urging them to fight," she said.
The first thing Booyse did was to phone the police, but when there was no response, she placed a post on Georgiete Staan Saam, asking who she could contact to report a dog fight.
Shortly after her post, SPCA inspector Henrico Pypers, as well as local animal lovers Paul Gerber and Ryno de Kock, arrived at the spot where Booyse saw the dog fighters. "By the time everyone arrived, the men and their dogs had already gone into the bush and we could hear the fighting and people cheering," she said.
Gerber, De Kock and Pypers drove to where they thought the fight was taking place, but by the time they got there, there was no sign of the culprits.
"We did an extensive search along with the SPCA and police, but unfortunately we were too late," said Gerber.
Dog fights increasing
According to Pypers, there is a sharp increase in dog fights in the area.
"Judging by the number of calls we have received about dog fights within the last couple of months, it is definitely increasing. Unfortunately, when we arrive on a scene, there is usually no sign of anything.
"If people suspect that a fight is taking place or being planned, please do not put it on social media first before phoning the authorities.
"Rather phone your local SPCA and police station directly before you try to do anything yourself," he said.
According to Pypers photographic and/or video evidence would be a huge advantage during the prosecution process.
"If someone suspects dogs are used for fighting in their communities, they are welcome to contact us - even if the dog has old scars - so these premises can be investigated. Your anonymity will be guaranteed."
The SPCA's emergency number is 082 378 7384.
How to recognise the signs
Dogs used for fighting suffer terrible injuries like broken bones, ripped flesh, internal injuries, broken teeth, and torn muscles.
These dogs often die as a result of their injuries, loss of blood, shock, exhaustion or dehydration. Here are some signs to look out for to recognise the presence of dog fighting:
• Pit bull terriers kept on heavy chains or confined in small areas like alleys, garages or cages.
• Residences or properties with multiple pit bulls that are unsterilised, unsocialised or unfriendly to other animals.
• Purpose built fighting pits or makeshift fighting areas with blood stains on floors or walls.
• Frequent or regular change in dogs at a specific property. As dogs are killed, new animals are purchased or stolen.
• Groups of pit bulls being walked at unusual hours, especially late at night.
• Pit bulls that have evidence or repeated injuries. Dogs with multiple scars or injuries on their bodies, especially their faces, front legs, chests, hind legs, thighs and ears.
• The presence of training equipment like slat mills, treadmills, spring poles or break sticks, veterinary drugs/supplies and steroids.
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