South Africa 27.6.2016 02:59 pm

Pit bull dogfighting ad: what’s going on?

The pitbull ad. Picture: Randburg Sun

The pitbull ad. Picture: Randburg Sun

A billboard apparently advertising pit bull dogfighting has the whole of Joburg scratching its head. We try to look a bit deeper.

Photos of a bakkie towing a trailer billboard through Bryanston have gone viral today and has got the SPCA investigating if there is indeed some sort of underground dog-fighting movement being promoted in Johannesburg.

The Citizen has been trying to get to the bottom of the matter and, when trying to find out who registered the website cajunrules.co.za, all we found was an obvious pseudonym, Jacun Suler, which is just the letters of “cajun rules” mixed up in an anagram. The registered address is also Cajun House on William Nicol Drive in Bryanston, which is also not a real place.

The advertised phone number also no longer works.

What’s perhaps more intriguing is that the website sporting-dog.com actually has an entry for “cajun rules”, which appears to be the historical rules for how dog fights are meant to be conducted.

A note at the bottom of the website appears to indicate that it was last updated in 2011 and, in all likelihood, is an American site.

Cajun rules, among other things, apparently specify 19 rules, among which is rule 19, that “Should the police interfere, the referee [is] to name the next meeting place.” It goes into intricate detail about the size of the fighting pit, how winners are decided and how owners and the referee should behave.

The point of these fights was for spectators to bet on their choice of dog, but dog fighting has been illegal for a very long time, which makes someone presumably advertising a dog fight in public all the more strange.

When a Sandton Chronicle journalist called the number on the advert for bookings, the call went through to a voicemail box.

The voicemail welcomed the caller to the cajun rules booking line and stated that they were experiencing high call volumes. They were then directed to the voicemail to leave a message.

On Facebook, some have speculated that the whole thing may in fact be a cage-fighting publicity stunt in very poor taste because one of the “dogs” shares a name with American MMA cage fighter Thor, but at this stage even that seems far-fetched. Nitro also seems to have some link to MMA in Australia.

Extreme Fighting Championship (EFC) has dispelled all rumours that they are somehow involved.

EFC told the Sandton Chronicle, “This advert is not ours. We have no affiliation to this advert whatsoever.”

JMPD spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said: “The advert is believed to be driven around by a bakkie and is not stationary. My officers have been alerted and are on the lookout. The advert was spotted in Bryanston. The SPCA need to get involved to remove the dogs from this fight as they can be severely injured and it is cruel. My officers will contact the SPCA as soon as they have info.”

Mamonyane further appealed to members of the public, that if the vehicle or advert is spotted to contact the bylaws department by calling or sending a whatsapp message to 082 7791 361.

Senior inspector for the special investigation unit at the SPCA Nadia Hansa said, “We have received a lot of angry calls from a lot of angry people regarding the issue. We are currently investigating.”

With reference to the website cajunrules.co.za, Hansa confirmed that “Cajun Rules” dogfighting was a particular cruel form of competition which usually leads to the death of at least one of the dogs.

She added, “It’s not based on a specific winner, but the dog who’s more willing to fight to the death.”

Hansa said that dogfighting has been on the rise in South Africa as of late with the SPCA currently involved in nine different cases at the moment.

The SPCA has been trying to track the vehicle that is advertising the alleged dogfight, but it is proving difficult as the vehicle is constantly on the move.

Tyrone Walker, an attorney, said: “Any member of the public can lodge a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority where they believe an advertisement is in contravention of the ASA code. The ASA code is a set of rules which advertisements should abide to. In this case, a member of the public may be able to lodge a complaint based on the advertisement being “offensive” or the fact that it may be showing something that may encourage or support criminal or illegal activity. The complaint can be lodged on the ASA website.”

If you happen to know anything more about what’s really going on, please get in touch with us on our Facebook page.

 

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