Harmless pet or horrible pest?

Kabelo Dipholo

Pit Bulls under the microscope as calls for a ban grow louder

There’s a raging debate surrounding the pit bull in Botswana.

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Following the mauling of an eight-year-old boy in Bloemfontein, South Africa last week, the anti-pit bull movement have raised their voice and are demanding a total ban of the dog.

Their cries were amplified by Member of Parliament (MP) for Sefhare-Ramokgonami, Kesitegile Gobotswang’s submission in Parliament, asking government to pass a legislation on the notorious dogs.

The controversy around pit bulls has been in existence worldwide for many years.

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In other parts of the world, the breed has been completely banned. Countries such as France, Denmark, Italy, Germany and Venezuela have outlawed the animal.

Back home, and while several high-profile personalities are advocating for a complete ban, there are also heavyweights fighting in the dog’s corner.

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Celebrity lawyer, Kgosi Ngakaagae, for example, has called for rationality in dealing with the issue.

Harmless pet or horrible pest?

Ngakaagae opines that the scale of the danger posed by pit bulls is purely imaginary.

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“An isolated South African, or other foreign case, doesn’t make a case for legislation in Botswana,” he posted on his Facebook wall.

The respected attorney feels altercations between animals and humans are natural conflicts that should be addressed through enhanced safety regulations.

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Despite his efforts, a petition spearheaded by Dr. Lesedi Gaeemelwe and former Miss Botswana, Juby Peacock is gaining momentum.

By Wednesday, it had surpassed 16, 000 signatures.

Harmless pet or horrible pest?
Dr Gaeemelwe

In an interview with The Voice, Dr. Gaeemelwe maintained the pit bull was doing more harm than good for both adults and children.

“It is also causing problems for other pets. It destroys everything in its path,” she said, adding the dog’s temperament is not that of a pet.

“Pets are loving! But, unlike other dogs, a pit bull doesn’t attack to scare, but rather to kill. It attacks like a terrorist, even turning its rage on its caretakers,” insisted Gaeemelwe.

She further revealed they are currently working on preparing hard copies for those who can’t sign the online petition.

“These hard copies will be circulated in all the villages. We’ve so many dog breeds to choose from, I don’t think banning the pit bull will hurt us in anyway,” fired Gaeemelwe.

Another who’s in support of the proposed ban is dog lover and breeder, Comfort Ramatebele, who’s worried that people don’t seem to understand pit bulls in general.

“Violence is one of its dispositions; that’s why it has been banned in so many countries,” he reasoned.

Ramatebele said should the dog be allowed to remain in the country, there’s a need for strong legislation.

Harmless pet or horrible pest?

“It could be exclusive to security companies or forces. If it is to be allowed in homes, there should be a standard with regards to fencing or perimeter walls,” added Ramatebele.

Similarly, Francistown based dog lover, Collen Matlakala supports a ban.

“I have kids and I don’t want to see that animal with my two eyes. We’ve been taught what to do when we come face to face with lions, elephants and snakes, but no one has taught us how to defend ourselves against pit bulls. It’s a killer dog that has no place in our neighbourhoods,” was his emotional comment.

Matlakala believes if a pet can’t be controlled by its caretakers then it should never be domesticated.

“I doubt that thing is a dog. A friend of mine owns them, and they’ve turned on him countless times,” revealed Matlakala.

For DJ Duece (Mmeshe Khata), currently based in London, there’s a huge difference in the way dogs are raised where he lives and here.

“Here dogs are treated like human beings. Same space, same food. They are taught to live well with people and even go for therapy,” Khata said.

“My friend, who’s a Motswana, has a big pit bull. The dog is so friendly and loving. I think the problem in Botswana is how we breed them. We want them to be aggressive as guard dogs, and that’s where the problem is,” he concluded.

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