National 29.8.2016 02:39 pm

Stolen dog sparks dog-fighting alert in KZN

CCPO committee member, George Snodey, Michael Mkhize, Paul O'Neil and a CCPO guard return Akito to his owner Jaf Khan. Picture: South Coast Sun.

CCPO committee member, George Snodey, Michael Mkhize, Paul O'Neil and a CCPO guard return Akito to his owner Jaf Khan. Picture: South Coast Sun.

There is a big problem with dog fighting in Durban, says resident.

Dog lovers are warned to keep a close eye on their pets after another dog was snatched from its yard last week on KwaZulu-Natal’s south coast, reports the South Coast Sun.

This latest incident has sparked fears of a link between the theft of dogs and dog-fighting rings.

Jaf Khan’s male Staffordshire bull terrier Akito went missing from his Warner Beach home on August 10.

“I noticed he was missing in the morning. I think someone called him to the bottom of my yard and grabbed him, as he would have not got out by himself. I saw a guy there a few days before calling to my dogs, and I chased him away. I suspect it was the same guy,” he said.

Khan alerted Amazimtoti SPCA to the incident, and they quickly launched a search, but to no avail.

“The next day there was still no sign of the dog, so inspector Dawn du Plooy and I went into the townships to look for Akito and alerted people there was a reward for the dog’s safe return,” said Toti SPCA manager Tracey Girling.

‘It is huge, especially in Umlazi, but it’s something we have to investigate very carefully, as these guys gamble huge amounts of money with these dogs and they are dangerous people.’

“We asked one of our contacts to help trace the dog and on Friday. He called Dawn to say he knew where Akito was, and he would come back to us with more information. On Saturday he phoned us with the location of the dog, which we passed on to the CCPO, but they already had this information and were waiting to get the dog back.

“A big thank you to the CCPO for being patient and waiting at the location to get Akito and take him safely home,” said Tracey.

“One of my employees, Rachel Nel, saw a social media post about the missing dog and saw a man walking a similar-looking dog on Kingsway in Warner Beach last week,” said CCPO committee member George Snodey.

On August 20, she saw the same man, but this time without the dog. She had the foresight to take a photo of him. George relayed the information to CCPO response officer Michael Mkhize, who went to look at the man’s photograph and found him in the vicinity of Spar.

“He said he had found the dog running around in the street. When he called the dog, Akito went to him, so he took him. The man said he had sold the dog on Old Main Road,” said Snodey.

The man took the CCPO to the premises, but the dog wasn’t there. The owner of the property identified the dog and admitted he had bought it. “He apparently sent someone to Pinetown to fetch the dog. When the dog was returned, we reunited him with his owner,” said Snodey.

“It was a big relief to get Akito back, especially since we were working with the SPCA since he went missing,” said Khan.

“We know Akito is not the only dog to go missing in August in Toti. Two pitbulls and another brown staffie were taken.”

A vet confirmed Akito had already been in a fight, as he sported an abscess from a dog bite. The usually social dog is now distressed and not keen to socialise with other dogs.

“There is a big problem with dog fighting in Durban. I drove into Felikize and Lovu Township to look for Akito but the SPCA warned me not to, as they said I might come across the guys involved in dog fighting, and they are heavily armed.”

Khan said he has heard there are dog fighting syndicates in KwaMakhutha and Umlazi D section. Snodey mentioned a ring in Port Shepstone. “It is huge, especially in Umlazi, but it’s something we have to investigate very carefully, as these guys gamble huge amounts of money with these dogs and they are dangerous people. NSPCA staff wear bulletproof vests and have had their lives threatened,” said Girling.

“Dog owners need to be vigilant and look out for each other,” advised Khan. “There has been a lot of success with the formation of breed-specific forums in Cape Town, and we need to start this in Toti.

“If your dog goes missing, report it to the SPCA and work with them. If there’s a slight chance we can put the guys responsible away, we need to take it.

“The Toti public needs to know what is going on.

“Thanks to the SPCA and CCPO – you really came through for us this time.”

Caxton News Service

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