The Namibian (Windhoek)

14 February 2013

Namibia: 'Smuggled' Dogs Confiscated in Swakopmund

POLICE and members of the SPCA in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay yesterday stopped a vehicle in which five dogs were allegedly being smuggled to Angola.

Three boerboel puppies and two older pitbulls were being transported from Walvis Bay to Swakopmund in a box inside the car boot. The SPCA and police were tipped off by a Walvis Bay resident, and when the three men suspected to be Angolan citizens arrived in Swakopmund, they were stopped and escorted to the Swakopmund police station for questioning.

The men were adamant that the dogs were purchased legally in Walvis Bay and that they could show the papers to prove it. According to them, they were only taking the animals to Swakopmund from where they would have been transported to Angola in a cage on the back of a bakkie .

Although the police did not open a case against the men and the SPCA did not press charges, Riëtte Scheepers of the Walvis Bay SPCA said that the dogs had to be confiscated until the papers of the suspects could be verified, and that the dogs had indeed been bought.

The Namibian learned from reliable sources that pitbulls are not allowed to be imported into Angola, heightening the suspicions about the latest incident, which comes after last week's alert about dog smuggling issued by the Windhoek SPCA.

The preferred breeds for smuggling to Angola for illegal dog fighting are Staffordshire terriers, Jack Russel terriers, Rhodesian ridgebacks, boerboels, pitbulls, German shepherds, Swiss shepherds, Rottweillers and bullterriers. Smaller breeds or puppies are used as 'bait' dogs to teach the fighting dogs to kill.

Several alleged smuggling attempts have been intercepted by police on both sides of the border between South Africa and Namibia over the past few weeks in which more than 60 dogs were involved.

Rumours about an alleged international dog fighting competition to be held soon also increased fears that dog theft and smuggling would increase over the next few weeks.

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