In the space of three days, two people have died in separate incidents after being mauled by pit bulls. Their gruesome deaths have raised concerns about whether owning a pit bull should be regulated?
On Monday, 27-year-old Ruan Redgard was mauled by two pit bull’s in Port Elizabeth. Redgard was walking along a street in the city’s Algoa Park neighborhood when residents heard his frantic cries. Neighbours managed to pry the dogs off the young man. He was declared dead on the scene.
In another incident, a Durban pensioner was killed by two pit bulls known to the victim. The 67-year-old woman died from her injuries. According to reports, the attack took place in Greenwood Park on Wednesday.
The deaths have opened festering wounds around the debate as to whether owning a pit bull should be regulated.
In an interview conducted by Ray White on CapeTalk, Lins Rautenbach Public Relations Practitioner at the Pit Bull Federation of South Africa, said she is a firm believer that owning a pit bull requires regulation.
Rautenbach said that when a pit bull is raised in an environment where it has regular contact with people and other animals, the dog should not be aggressive.
“This is terrible and it shouldn’t be happening,” Rautenbach said. “The American Pit Bull as a breed should not be aggressive.”
She pointed out that the big problem is indiscriminate breeders who are mass breeding the dog, and handing them out like smarties. And then there are not very responsible owners, wanting these dogs for the wrong reasons. She said these dogs are a phenomenal breed if they are socialised properly, bred correctly and owned responsibly.
“A dog’s temperament, no matter what breed, is 60% inherited. So if you have two parents with temperament problems, you are guaranteed to have a dog with temperament problems. To avoid this, do your research on the breeder, go and meet the dog. Leave the back yard dogs alone, don’t buy unregistered dogs or a dog off Facebook or your neighbour.
“Most of the problem we are seeing, especially with these maulings, is they are dogs who have been isolated from people, so they have not been socialised with humans or animals, or they have been brought up to be protection dogs and this creates issues.
“All dogs bite, yes they do. But the damage a pit bull does when it does get ahold of somebody is that much more than other dogs. So I do firmly believe to own these dogs, you must be regulated. I agree 100% with that,” said Rautenbach.
PETA, an international animal rights organisation, has seven tips for raising a well-adjusted pit bull:
– Sterilise your pitbull. Not only will this prevent accidental breeding, but will also put a stop to unsterilised males getting loose and roaming.
– Pitbulls need to be exercised daily. Even a fifteen minute walk burns off pent up energy or a game of fetch in the garden.
– Take your pitbull to training classes. Not only will this allow you to form a closer bond with your dog, but you will develop ways of communicating with each other that will allow your dog to understand and trust your compassionate leadership in all situations and you to gain a better understand of when your dog is fearful or uncomfortable.
– Socialise your dog while they are still young. Visiting different places with your dog and meeting new people allows your pitbull to become socialised while still young. As adults they will be able to meet new experiences with less fear and excitement.
– Your pitbull should be on a leash in public. Most towns and cities have leash laws. Having your dog on a leash not only makes your dog less likely to be hit by a passing car but also helps other people to less nervous of your pitbull or see him or her in a positive light.
– Never allow your pitbull to roam free. Loose dogs are often hurt by cruel people and accidents can happen as well. Always know where your dog is. Pit Bulls are known to be great escape artists. Make sure you have the means to keep them safe and sound on your property while still giving them lots of room to move around in. If you can afford it, electric fencing is a good idea. Not only will it keep your pitbulls in, but is more likely to keep pitbull thieves out (theft of pitbulls from gardens and yards is at an all-time high).
– Supervise your dog with small children and animals. This is a must. Small children are often hurt by dogs not out of anger, but because dogs can scratch them, step on them, and accidently injure them. As the saying goes: prevention is better than cure.