Government looks into DNA of pit bulls to probe their aggression

11 April 2023 - 16:00
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More than 139,000 South Africans have signed the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation petition to ban pit bulls. Stock photo.
More than 139,000 South Africans have signed the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation petition to ban pit bulls. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/ALEKTA

The department of agriculture, land reform and rural development on Tuesday said comprehensive DNA analysis of pit bull and pit bull-type dogs is to be conducted. It hopes this will assist with identifying what has caused the dogs to become problematic, mauling and killing numerous people across the country.

The department said the exercise would also investigate aggressive behaviour and will assist in identifying the pit bull and pit bull-type dogs that may be developed through indiscriminate crossbreeding.

“Among the work under way is the comprehensive DNA analysis of pit bull and pit bull-type dogs to assist with correct identification of problem animals unique to South Africa. This exercise will also investigate aggressive behaviour and assist in identifying the pit bull and pit bull-type dogs that may be developed through indiscriminate crossbreeding,” read a statement from agriculture, land reform and rural development minister, Thoko Didiza.

This came after her meeting with the Sizwe Kupelo Foundation.

The foundation has compiled a petition to ban pit bulls and has collected more than 139,000 signatures.

TimesLIVE reported that the foundation was forced to submit the petition electronically in December when the department did not confirm a date for physical delivery. 

Speaking about the interventions in place, Didiza said: “This is an assignment that needs multiple government departments, including municipalities to help ensure reviews and implementation of bylaws to better manage keeping of companion animals such as dogs and to ensure the safety and welfare of both humans and animals.”

Didiza indicated that the department is also working with the department of justice and constitutional development to amend the Animal Matters Amendment Act of 1993. 

This is to ensure citizens are protected from harm and that owners of such animals are held accountable for damages caused by power dogs and other animals.

“Key role players in the private sector, namely Pit Bull Federation of SA (PBFSA) and the Centre of Applied Pet Ethology (COAPE) International have joined the department to create a joint-task team to identify short, medium and long-term practical approaches to promote safety of all people living with pit bull and pit bull-type dogs, to reduce and prevent injuries and loss of life on all fronts, said department spokesperson Reggie Ngcobo.

Didiza has committed the department to work with all other relevant stakeholders to ensure the issue is addressed to the satisfaction of all involved, especially to ensure that citizens are safe from harm caused by dogs and other domestic animals.

TimesLIVE

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