NIGEL – Four men were sentenced to two years of direct imprisonment on April 18 for participating in the criminal activity of organised dog fighting.
The Special Investigations Unit of the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has been relentless in the pursuit of justice for the 14 animal victims of their 2013 Tsakane dog fighting raid.
The Unit vows to be just as unrelenting in pursuing justice for over 200 dogs in the 58 dog fighting cases that have followed.
Th NSPCA recently thanked the public for donations received in memory of the Tsakane 14.
The money raised was and will again be put to good use in rescuing other victims of this vicious crime and obtaining justice for them through the legal system.
In November 2013, the Unit responded to information about an organised dog fight being held in Tsakane, Ekhuruleni, Gauteng, which resulted in the arrest of 18 suspects and the rescue of 14 badly injured dogs.
“All it takes for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing but in this case a lot of good people chose to do something,” said Magistrate Juan Voogt before he sentenced the four men found guilty: Mpumelelo Dubula, Tsetsewa Mahlaba, Bongani Floyd Mbonani and Thokozani Ndabele.
Members of the public and inspectors from both the NSPCA and local SPCA branches listened attentively as State prosecutor Bradley Dias explained to the court how, globally, dog fighting engenders outrage and revulsion and that the sentence to be handed down to the convicted should send a message that this crime is serious, will not be tolerated and will be dealt with harshly.
He added that SPCA Inspectors are the guardians and protectors of these animals and that they were also victims that suffered from the trauma of having to deal with this horrendous crime.
A further ten men found guilty of being spectators at this dog fight, were sentenced to two years under strict house arrest.
All the convicted men were found unfit to possess firearms and found unfit to own dogs, and, if found in possession of a dog, would be liable to 12 months direct imprisonment. Further to the life changing conditions of house arrest, the ten spectators were also sentenced to 360 hours of community service and a total of R50 000 is to be paid to the NSPCA.
During the course of this trial one of the accused chose to plead guilty and was sentenced to R20 000 or 20 months imprisonment which was suspended for 5 years on condition that he did not reoffend. Another two men have still to be sentenced.
Magistrate Juan Voogt went on to say that the human race have been entrusted to ensure that no harm will come to animals, a responsibility that we should exercise with humaneness and dignity. He concluded with a warning that dog fighting tears at the moral fibre of society, exhibiting a level of violence that is abhorrent and reprehensible.
He emphasised that anyone who wants to trivialise the offence of dog fighting is losing touch with reality.