Three pit bulls were stoned, stabbed and burnt to death by angry residents on Sunday after severely mauling a child in Cape Town.
The child was attacked by the dogs in Gatesville, Athlone.
“The dogs had attacked a young girl in a Gatesville field. The child sustained severe injuries and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment,” said the Cape of Good Hope SPCA.
“The community took matters into their own hands and attacked the dogs, stoning, stabbing and hitting the animals with objects before burning them to death.”
It was the second incident reported to the SPCA of dogs being set alight in one weekend.
SPCA Inspector Jeffrey Mfini, who rushed to the scene, found the dogs burning and extinguished the flames. The dogs had succumbed to their injuries. Post mortems will be done at the SPCA in Grassy Park.
“We urge the public to contact the SPCA if a dog behaves aggressively or tries to bite someone. We will take the dog immediately. People must not take matters into their own hands. No animal deserves to endure brutality and suffering,” said the SPCA’s chief inspector Jaco Pieterse.
Dog owners who wish to surrender their pit bulls to the SPCA should contact the inspectorate on 021 700 4158/9 or 083 326 1604 after hours. Community members were urged to report cruelty to animals using the same numbers.
“It is tragic a child was harmed and the animals were brutally attacked. No dog should be roaming the streets. Responsible pet owners ensure their animals are kept within their properties. If your home is not adequately fenced, don’t get a dog,” said Pieterse.
The SPCA also elaborated on its stance regarding calls for the breed to be banned in South Africa.
“The SPCA movement does not support the petition to ban or outlaw pit bulls, but fully supports the motion to develop and implement stronger regulations/legislation with regard to the keeping and breeding of power breed dogs,” the organisation said.
“Although the SPCA movement’s mandate is the prevention of cruelty to animals and promoting good animal care, the SPCA also values human lives. Not only do people suffer from dog attacks, other animals are also victims and have been mauled to death. In many instances, the aggressive animals themselves have also been subjected to extreme abuse and cruelty in the manner in which they are kept, trained and killed. This is an issue where both human and animal lives have been placed in danger by irresponsible people who lack the skills and knowledge required to handle power breeds.
“The development and implementation of stronger regulations, such as compulsory sterilisation and permitting to keep power breeds would be a step in the right direction.
“Compulsory sterilisation, at the cost of the owner, would assist in preventing power breed puppies from being easily accessible to irresponsible people. Compulsory permitting would assist in being able to hold power breed owners accountable for their pets.”