POLICE and animal welfare groups swooped on a dog-fighting syndicate on Saturday night, arresting 10 people during a clandestine American pitbull “championship” fight near Plettenberg Bay.
The suspects came from East London, Queenstown, Plettenberg Bay, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
They are believed to belong to a top syndicate involved in dog fights all over the country,
Authorities, who have been chasing a syndicate down for the past five years, said animal welfare workers were horrified at the extent of the injuries to dogs they confiscated.
Southern Cape police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie said yesterday the suspects, aged between 33 and 51, were released on R1500 bail each and will appear in the Plett Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
They will face charges of contravening the Animal Protection Act by conducting illegal animal fights.
Pojie said police from KwaNokuthula, outside Plett, received information that an illegal dog fight would take place on Saturday night on a smallholding in Ladywood, between Plett and KwaNokuthula.
When police and SPCA officials entered the house, “they made the horrific discovery of two pitbull terriers fighting in a cage that had been erected in the centre of the living room”.
These dogs were badly injured. Another six pitbulls were chained outside, waiting to fight.
Pojie said all eight dogs were handed to animal welfare officials.
“The two dogs that were fighting were so badly injured they had to be transferred from Knysna to the George SPCA for treatment.”
Police also confiscated “quite a substantial amount” of restricted veterinary drugs, allegedly used to put down severely injured dogs.
Pojie said the man who allegedly supplied the drugs was one of those arrested. He is a government official but it is not yet known for which department he works.
The man who allegedly organised the fight on his property works at a local restaurant, officials say.
He apparently claimed he was rehabilitating six rescued pitbulls. An SPCA source, who did not want to be named because he feared for his and his family’s safety, said officials swooped during the first fight of the night.