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An organised dog fight held in Tsakane‚ Ekhuruleni‚ which resulted in the rescue of 14 grievously injured dogs in 2013‚ has finally culminated in the conviction of 17 men.

Only one dog was not euthanised due to the extent of their injuries.

The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) on Friday welcomed the judgment‚ handed down in the Nigel Regional Court this week.

“We are thankful and appreciative that these criminals have been found guilty for their participation in this heinous crime. It has been a trying four years filled with numerous challenges to get this case finalised but we did not‚ and would never‚ relent until justice was served for these dogs” said Senior Inspector Wendy Willson‚ manager of the NSPCA’s Special Investigations Unit.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 18[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]2018.

In November 2013‚ TimesLIVE reported that the raid was described as the biggest in 18 years.

“We know that dog-fighting goes on across the country but we do not know who is behind it or where the money comes from‚” said then NSPCA acting chief executive Este Kotze.

She described the scene discovered by the NSPCA inspectors and the police as “horrific”.

“The reality of the terrible suffering and violence was evident.”

Walls nearly 3m high‚ solid steel security gates and lookouts had protected the privacy of those watching the blood-letting inside.

The raid took place as a fight was in progress.

Kotze said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“It was one of several planned. Everyone present was involved and they were placing bets. We recovered a number of drugs‚ both for human and for animal use.”

She said the dogs‚ which had been mated with pitbulls‚ had been bred for fighting.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“None of them had been stolen. Each was bred by this fighting community and used to fight over an extended period.”

In that same interview‚ Kotze said the syndicates were difficult to stop “… virtually impossible to uncover‚ with those involved running their barbaric sport as a secret underground network‚ communicating by means of social networks about venues‚ times‚ breeds and the strength of their dogs.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“This is the tip of the iceberg. We often get calls but seldom do we uncover a network like this‚ especially with fights in progress.

“The people involved seem to be like you and me … regular people with a regular job.”

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