MUTARE – Mutare city has been hit by a craze to own expensive thoroughbred dogs, with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) attributing the trend to the rise in abuse of the animals.
In an exclusive interview with Eastern News, SPCA Manicaland chairperson Lynne James said the breed commonly targeted by the dog lovers was the German Shepherd.
“There is a trend that it is almost stylish to have certain breeds of dogs, whether you can look after them or not, and whether you know what that breed entails,” she said, adding that the development has seen a “rise in animal cruelty”.
“It is increasing our workload…certain breeds require such a lot of care,” James said.
“German Shepherds are a case in point. They require a lot of exercise. That is not an animal that you can keep in a small garden and just come home to and think it’s going to be fine. They are highly intelligent and need to get out there and have exercise, interact with you and with other dogs.”
“I think a lot of people just take animals but they don’t realise what is involved and the situation ends up as cruelty because the way they end up being kept is not fair,” James said.
She said in some cases, people are forced to take in dogs just for security, but do not take appropriate care for the animals.
“I think everybody is hard pressed and at the same time crime is on the increase so people want dogs, they want security. It is really hard then to look after the animals.”
James added that sometimes people need to have the dogs neutered so that you don’t end up having puppies that they are unable to look after.
Apart from poor upkeep, she however, said there were brute cases of abuse, citing a recent case in which SPCA had a Zimunya man and his son both being fined $200 each for beating a dog to death after it had bitten a child.
James said abuse of animals was not limited to dogs.
“It’s not only dogs; we see it in the donkeys, the way they are treated. In this current season, you see them working out there, they are absolutely magic and essential to farmers but you can’t work them until they drop. There is just a lot of education that needs to be done,” she said.