The call for a ban of pit bulls intensifies

Dogs are known to be a man’s best friend, however, in the recent years there has been an increase in dog attacks. Particularly, the dog breed known as the “pit bull”. This breed is known as the most aggressive dog, this is why Sizwe Kupelo Foundation started a petition to ban this dog as a pet in South Africa.

The petition titled, “Ban pit bulls as domestic pets in SA” has gained over 30 000 signatures from people in support of this campaign. The petition is aimed at Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thoko Didiza, Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele, Minister of Police, Bheki Cele and the Minister of Health, Dr. Joe Phaahla.

Sizwe Kupelo spoke about what fuelled their campaign. “We are an organisation that looks after the interests of vulnerable children, so what prompted us to engage on this call was the recent incident of a 10-year-old who died from Gqeberha. We felt that enough is enough, it is time that we engage and demand that the government imposes a ban on the breed,” he said.

Kupelo said that they view the dog as extremely dangerous, and that it is a lethal animal that is not supposed to be kept as a domestic animal.

“That is why we need government declassify it and classify it under wild animals because they are number of cases that have been reported in the country and elsewhere in the world,” said Kupelo.

He continued, “South Africa is not going to be the first country to impose such a ban, Russia, United Kingdom, parts of China and Portugal have done it. Why cannot South Africa do the same? Because we have a constitution that guarantees us the right to life.”

There are different types of bans worldwide, some bans permit ownership of pit bulls but ban these dogs from entering the country. Some countries have laws about fencing and reinforcements for pit bulls. Other bans include, banning the dog as a domestic pet and a ban on breeding. There are countries that have a complete ban of pit bulls whereby ownership of this dog is not permitted. Countries with complete ban includes Netherlands, Germany, Puerto Rico, Italy, Denmark and Venezuela.

“We are saying start by castrating all male pit bulls and sterilizing all female pit bulls so as to prevent further breeding going forward,” concluded Kupelo.

The National Council of Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) declared their solidarity with the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation’s campaign.

“The NSPCA stands in solidarity with the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation for the protection of our people- especially the vulnerable, who are the most common victims of dog attacks. Although the NSPCAs mandate is the prevention of cruelty to animals and promoting good animal care, the NSPCA also values human lives,” said the NSPCA in a statement.

“According to Section 10 of the Animals Protection Act no 71 of 1962, Minister Thokozile Didiza has the authority to promulgate new regulations in terms of the petition put forward by the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation,” said the NSPCA.

The NSPCA said that the 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.

Now the ball is in the government’s court, with the traction this campaign is getting, people are waiting to see how they will respond to the ban.