Nica Richards

By Nica Richards


Pit bull petition to protect humans and animals endorsed by NSPCA

Pit bulls are known as power breeds, and require specific handling.

A petition to ban the ownership of pit bulls in a bid to prevent further attacks and deaths has been endorsed by the National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA).

Dubbed extreme in some circles, the NSPCA explained that the petition, created by the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation (SKF), sought to protect human and animal lives by promoting responsible ownership.

The petition is also calling for stronger regulations for owning a pit bull, by asking that permits be handed out to prospective owners.

ALSO READ: Gqeberha boy mauled to death by pit bulls

Power breed

Pit bulls are known as power breeds, and require specific handling.

Despite this, they are often owned by people who abuse them, and are trained to be aggressive.

“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 NSPCA said.

The SKF said in its petition that a number of countries have either banned or restricted owning pit bulls and pit bull importation.

The petition was spurred on by one of the more recent tragedies, where 10-year-old Storm Nuku was mauled to death by two pit bulls at his home in Gelvandale, Gqeberha last month.

Both dogs were shot dead by police, but Storm succumbed to his injuries and died at the scene.

“We cannot continue losing young people like Storm Nuku to these vicious dogs that have shown time and again that they should not be kept as pets. May young Storm Nuku rest in perfect peace,” SKF founder Sizwe Kupelo said.

“The defence by pit bull lovers that ‘it is how you raise the dog’ – does not hold water. So many people, including joggers have been attacked and killed by pit bulls.”

ALSO READ: ‘I thought I was going to die’: Runner attacked by pit bulls describes horrifying ordeal

Unwanted pit bulls

The amount of attacks perpetrated by pit bulls, especially on the vulnerable, could result in many people no longer wanting their dogs, the NSPCA warned.

They have advised anyone who no longer wished to keep their dogs, of any breed, to take them to their local SPCA, animal welfare shelter, or private veterinarian.

SPCAs, which are not funded by government, are already spread too thin financially, a situation significantly exacerbated by unwanted animals surrendered to them.

The NSPCA was dealt another blow earlier this month when the National Lotteries Commission made the decision to exclude animal welfare as a funding priority for 2022/23.

“This petition should not result in the demonising of pit bulls but in finding a humane and cohesive way forward to protect the human and animal victims in this issue.”

ALSO READ: Five-year-old girl mauled to death by pit bulls in Mpumalanga

Call on government

Kupelo’s petition wants Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development Thoko Didiza to intervene when it comes to keeping pit bulls as pets.

“It is time that the South African government takes decisive steps and impose a complete ban on the ownership of pit bulls as domestic animals.

“Such a move would prevent further attacks and unnecessary deaths. We cannot continue sending out messages of condolences for something that can easily be prevented.”

According to Section 10 of the Animal Protection Act no 71 of 1962, Didiza has the authority to promulgate new regulations in terms of SKF’s petition, the NSPCA said.

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