Last week, the Office of the Minister Community Safety, Albert Fritz, met with members of the Cape Animal Welfare Forum (CAWF) to address the issue of dog fighting. It was agreed that a follow up meeting should be held with stakeholders including law enforcement, CAWF, the Department of Community Safety and Social Development to establish a task team that can immediately respond to cases.
Representatives in attendance included the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Animal Welfare Society South Africa and the Department of Social Development (DSD). During the meeting, it was resolved that stronger links should be formed between the local offices of the DSD and CAWF where there are reports of young people who are involved with dog fighting. CAWF further expressed the need for a targeted communications strategy to create awareness of dog fighting.
Minister Fritz said, “I look forward to meeting with CAWF and other stakeholders to establish a task-team to respond to reports of dog-fighting. I have previously condemned the prevalence of dog-fighting in Ocean View and the Cape Flats communities; and re-iterated that the blood sport is both criminal and cruel. It was reported that there are an increasing number of school-aged children participating in dog fights. Where the dog loses the fight, they are destroyed by the child.”
Minister Fritz said, “Dog fighting is often linked to other forms of illicit or criminal behavior such as illegal gambling and trade of illicit substances. It is of great concern that young people are being drawn into dog fighting as they are seemingly being diverted into a life of criminality.”
In a study by the University of Tennessee in 2008, Hensley, Tallichet and Dutkiewicz conducted a survey based on the input of 180 inmates at a medium and maximum-security prison. It was found that repeated acts of animal cruelty during childhood was predictive of later repeated violent acts toward humans, showing a positive correlation between the two variables.
Minister Fritz said, “It is necessary that we address violence in all its forms. The Western Cape Safety Plan aims to halve the murder rate over the next ten years. A significant metric of violence is murders committed. Therefore, it is essential that we address all forms of violence to ensure that we achieve this goal.”