Durban – The SPCA in Bloemfontein said a decision was taken to put down the pit bulls that were brought in.
In a statement posted on Monday afternoon, the organisation said these dogs had all lived horrible lives.
“The emotional scars were visible in their eyes. They were not living in gardens running free, having naps on couches. They were exposed to the elements of nature, poorly fed, and left to breed and inbreed.
“There was no telling how they would eventually react if homed irresponsibly. We would most probably have another tragedy to deal with, and more dogs violently killed.
“The dogs were admitted and taking their history into account, and after consulting with professionals, it was determined that there are fates worse than dignified euthanasia.”
Almost five people in South Africa were mauled to death by pit bulls recently.
Most of the attacks took place in the Eastern Cape.
The most recent case there was a Port Alfred woman who was on her way to work when she was mauled.
The head chef died before medical help could arrive.
The pit bulls allegedly responsible for the attack where taken to the SPCA for safekeeping.
This week the SPCA said they needed to clarify misconceptions being circulated on social.
One of them is that the SPCA was forcibly taking pit bulls from their owners.
“Not once did we forcibly take any animal from their owners and no pit bull was taken to the Bloemfontein SPCA for boarding or safekeeping.”
The SPCA said that following the recent attack on two children, aged 9 and 3, they knew they had to do something.
“We knew that we had to step up and do whatever we can to assist owners that feared for the lives of their dogs, and to protect the dogs from a violent death.
“In Hennenman, the SPCA was on scene less than an hour after the little boy was killed.
“We were met with angry residents and community members.
“They directed their anger towards the SPCA and prevented, by force, inspectors from rescuing one of the two dogs that killed the boy.
“We notified SAPS and requested backup. Unfortunately, not even SAPS were able to allow us entry to retrieve a dog that was no longer a danger to the community.
“Instead of allowing us to do our jobs, which is the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the anger of community members were focused on the SPCA.
“Our vehicles were damaged, and a hostile crowd threatened the lives of our inspectors.
“The moment we left, the pit bull was forcibly taken by the crowd, stabbed with knifes, hacked with spades, and eventually set alight. We were beyond devastated.”
The SPCA said messages were then circulating that all pit bulls would be removed by force or killed by the community.
“We opened our doors and sent a message that pit bull owners can call us if they fear for their lives or the lives of their dogs.
“We stepped up. We got out there, and we were admitting dogs from owners who willingly surrendered them.
“Every single dog we collected were handed over from makeshift small, dark and dirty cages, or on thick chains with little room to move or be the wonderful dog they were originally born to be.
“They all lost their lives the day they were cut off from the world. In many cases, the owners themselves were scared of the dogs they called their own.
“Being burnt alive and exposing them to that risk was not an option.
The SPCA said making the decision to put down the pit bulls was not easy.
“Yes, we euthanised them. Would we have wanted them to be happily home? Of course, but at what risk? We were not and are not prepared to risk the life of an animal we know has a disadvantage of living a good life.”
“Was it easy for us? It was and still is heartbreaking, and we ourselves don’t always know how we get from one day to the next.”
The SPCA said they took comfort knowing that those pit bulls on the other side of life no longer have to go hungry, be beaten, or live in small prisons.
“They are free from this cruel world and humans that failed them. They were failed by their owners, by law enforcement departments and local council. Not by the SPCA. We hope and wish that we can continue the work we signed up to do, without judgment and threat.”