West Rand Dog Fight Ring Bust

Footage of actual dog fights filmed by CLAW investigators
Thursday, 19 November, 2015
Johannesburg

Five men have been arrested, and their dogs confiscated after undercover investigations by the Community Led Animal Welfare (CLAW) project enabled police and animal welfare inspectors to bust a dog fighting ring on Gauteng’s West Rand.

CLAW had earlier responded to tip-offs from residents of Tshepisong, an impoverished area where the project provides veterinary services for dogs and cats, and who were fed up with the almost nightly dog fights taking place in the community.

“Dog fighting has literally exploded in the townships where we work, and we have been campaigning very hard to make people aware that not only is dog fighting exceptionally cruel but it is also illegal and carries heavy penalties,” says Cora Bailey, Director of CLAW.

“That has been successful in that we were directly approached by Tshepisong locals who said they were ‘sickened’ by what was going on in their community and concerned that so many of their young people were getting involved.

“We were determined to bust this fighting ring and careful, thorough and sometimes dangerous work by our informants paid off. All the intelligence we gathered, including video footage of actual fights, was handed to the NSPCA to act upon. We believe the cases against the perpetrators are watertight and hope the courts will prosecute and sentence to the full extent of the law,” said Bailey.

Two late night raids in recent weeks by police and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) arrested five men. Eight dogs were confiscated, some of them badly injured.

The suspects have all been charged under the Animals Protection Act, and are currently out on bail. If found guilty they could face fines of up to R300,000.00 and 15 years in jail.

CLAW is a flagship companion animal project of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Jason Bell, IFAW Director Southern Africa, has congratulated Bailey and her team, as well as the NSPCA and South African Police Services, on the arrests and confiscations.

“We are immensely proud of our CLAW project. Not only do they provide vet help and humane support to some of South Africa’s poorest communities who would otherwise have no access to services at all, but they do it under the most trying circumstances.

“This dog fighting bust is proof that CLAW’s consistent and community orientated approach is the right one. The trust between CLAW and the people they help made it possible to bring the perpetrators of this awful, cruel and most criminal activity to book. Kudos and thanks also go to the NSPCA – the results achieved by this collaboration speak for themselves,” said Bell.

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About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

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