A man believed to be a pastor was sentenced to two years in prison and a family member to two years house arrest in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court in Alberton on Thursday for their involvement in organised dog fighting.
James Bennie from the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa and a family member‚ who is a minor‚ were involved in organised dog fighting at a home in Eden Park‚ Ekurhuleni in August 2016.
“Both of the convicted were denied ownership of all animals‚” the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) said on Thursday.
NSPCA inspector Nadia Hansa and senior inspector Kingstone Siziba responded to a tip-off and found a “horrifying scene of cruelty and long term suffering” when they visited the house on August 22 2016.
“The inspectors found three pit bull terriers and five crossbreed dogs who were in severe distress. A white pit bull terrier named Biscuit was found collapsed‚ unable to walk and covered in deep infected wounds. The two other pit bull dogs had similar wounds and were heavily scarred from past dog fights‚” the NSPCA said.
“Instead of receiving treatment for these injuries suffered at the hands of their owners‚ the dogs had been left to starve on short chains without food or water. The crossbreed dogs were similarly emaciated and had a number of untreated injuries.”
Hansa said the dogs had been left chained up after fights outside the backdoor. The NSPCA removed the eight dogs from the property and they were taken to a vet.
“The three pit bulls‚ Biscuit‚ Bazooka and Boomer‚ and two of the crossbreed dogs were in such a state of infection‚ starvation and collapse that they sadly had to be euthanized.”
The NSPCA said in a subsequent statement that Bennie was not a pastor in the church cited in a previous press release.
“Following a media release issued by the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) on 12 July 2018 regarding the pastor that was sentenced to two years imprisonment for his involvement in dog fighting‚ the Apostolic Faith Mission of South Africa church reached out to inform us that Mr James Bennie was in fact not a pastor in any of their churches‚” the NSPCA said on Friday.
The organisation said it had acquired the information from the police.