WATCH: Owners of Vicious Dogs Should Pay Attention to Traits

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The Chronicle

Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THE tragic death of a Bulawayo man following an attack by his two Boerboels has shed light on animal lovers’ craze for buying dog breeds that are mostly dangerous and aggressive, but regardless of their characteristics.

Mr John Gavhera of Selbourne Park in Bulawayo was mauled last Thursday by his two Boerboels after they believed he was an intruder.

His neighbors watched helplessly as the vicious dogs ransacked him when he returned unannounced from work at noon to retrieve a toolbox he had forgotten.

boerboel dog

Just two months ago, a 7-year-old ECD learner from Madzimoyo Farm in Hurungwe District in Karoi, Mashonaland West, died after being mauled by a suspected rabid family dog, leaving his face unrecognizable.

The deceased miner was attacked by the vicious dog on the family property. Two years ago, a Bulawayo woman, Mrs Cherish Muchegwa of suburban West Somerton, made headlines after her owner’s five dogs mauled her.

Mrs Muchegwa had just passed through the gate of her accommodation when the dogs ran towards her before attacking her, ripping the flesh from her arms and legs. With the help of Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Raj Modi, Ms Muchengwa was flown to India for surgery where she spent three months in Kiran Hospital.

While dogs are meant to protect people, dog trainers and experts have warned that some breeds can be aggressive towards people, including their owners. Some of the breeds considered aggressive and dangerous include Boerboels, Pit Bulls, and Rottweilers, among others.

Minister Raj Modi

The Animal Welfare Officer of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Ms Berry Oosthuizen, said animal lovers should not keep aggressive dogs without first understanding their behavior and behavior. temperament.

“The dogs that commonly attack people are Boerboels largely because most dog owners don’t understand this type of breed. These dogs are not a breed meant to be locked in small cages or kept on small properties. because that’s what makes them aggressive,” she said.

“They get frustrated and that’s why they end up biting people. No dog is born aggressive, but it is only made aggressive by people who don’t understand it properly. Educating the public on how to keep dogs properly is what is needed.

Ms Oosthuizen said the isolation of dogs from humans is another factor that contributes to aggression in dogs.

“All dogs need to be socialized with their families but unfortunately a lot of these dogs are locked in cages and not allowed to see anyone and when they do that’s when they get aggressive” , she said.

Ms Oosthuizen said the dogs who attacked their owner in Selborne Park did not know who the man was.

“They thought he was an intruder after he jumped over the wall. Naturally a dog would attack anyone not accessing the property through the gate. He should have spoken to the dogs or at least the call by name before jumping into the yard. It was more human error than animal error,” she said.

Bulawayo dog trainer Mr Craig Rossen said socialization is important for dog keepers.

“Your dogs need regular socialization and unfortunately most people keep dogs for the wrong reasons.
“Dogs, just like other animals, have instincts, so you need to socialize with them from the earliest stages of life,” he said.

“It is also important to learn about dog breeds, as different breeds have different individual characteristics and traits. Mixed-breed dogs often show mixed characteristics as well.

The officer in charge of the ZRP Bulawayo canine section, Inspector Mzimkhulu Ncube, said that they opt for Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds for their noble character, loyalty, curiosity, high intelligence and obedience, as opposed to Boerboels and Pit Bulls. German Shepherds are used for patrols while Labrador Retrievers are classified as detector dogs (DD) used to sniff out drugs and explosives, among other things.

Inspector Mzimkhulu Ncube

They are specifically trained to assist police and other law enforcement personnel in their duties. Duties include searching for drugs and explosives, locating missing persons, searching for evidence at crime scenes, dispersing rioters, and attacking those targeted by police.

“We actually prefer the dogs we train in order to achieve what we want, which is why we have Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds in the police department. Boerboels and pit bulls forget easily, that’s why we don’t keep them,” said Insp Ncube.

“In most cases, these are the same dogs that attack people in homes because they are jealous. These dogs once they form a bond with their owner, they become aggressive and attack anyone who gets close to them.
Inspector Ncube said Boerboels are more dangerous and hostile, especially towards children.

“Boerboels don’t want their owners to be close to anyone and in most cases they attack children because they see them as rivals. Pit Bulls originated in the United States of America and the United Kingdom where they were used in dog fighting competitions and people loved to see them fight,” he said.

“However, due to their viciousness, these breeds are no longer preferred in these countries but surprisingly they have become a hit in Zimbabwe. These dogs are very dangerous because they are jealous and once a boerboel recognizes that you are the only one feeding it, that means no one else is supposed to feed it because it would have bonded with you.

Commenting on the Selbourne Park incident, Inspector Ncube said it was possible the two boerboels killed their owner due to the lack of bond between the animals and the owner.

“The dogs could have mistaken their owner for an enemy and attacked him, especially after he jumped over the prefabricated wall. This is generally the behavior of boerboels and pit bulls,” he said.

“You can train a Boerboel, but the nature of a Boerboel is that you can’t remove that element of jealousy and the person who trained them is the only one who can handle them. They’re different from German Shepherds that you can actually introduce to the rest of the family members and they are also able to tell that person is part of us unlike boerboels and pit bulls.

Inspector Ncube identified Boerboels, Pit Bulls and Rottweilers as not ideal breeds for homes.

Inspector Abednico Ncube

“Rottweilers have a natural instinct to protect their families and can be fierce in their defense. Channeling their power and protection through early socialization, firm, fair and consistent training and leadership, and regular work is essential. to do,” he said.

“When this doesn’t happen, Rottweilers can become dangerous bullies rather than the sociable guardians they are meant to be.”

A dog trainer from Bulawayo, who refused to have a mane, said: ‘Rottweilers walk a fine line between protection and aggression. If they are not carefully bred for a calm, intelligent temperament and properly socialized and trained, they can become overprotective.

“So helping our dogs learn to behave is one of the most important things we can do. That means they need to be able to deal with other people, other dogs and all kinds of things. a range of situations.Otherwise, dogs may become fearful or begin to display other problematic behaviors.
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