Plettenberg Bay – The trial against six members of an alleged dog fighting syndicate resumed in the Knysna Regional Court on Wednesday about four years after they were arrested during a police raid outside Plettenberg Bay.
The accused – Donald Wall from Port Elizabeth, Rudi Wall and Peter Wall of Queenstown, Owen Butler, Yorick Grobbelaar and Anton van Blerk, all from East London – were part of a group of 10 men arrested during the bust on a property in Ladywood on the outskirts of the town in May 2011.
Throughout the trial, witnesses testified that during the raid they found two dogs fighting in a massive blood-splattered wooden cage in the lounge of the home on the property. Police also found dog fighting paraphernalia as well as five other dogs chained on the property. The accused were allegedly standing around the cage cheering as two pit bulls fought.
The accused pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and are adamant they were unaware dog fighting would take place at the property – they had been there as guests.
“I was there for a braai and to pick up shoes, not for a dog fight,” Donald Wall said. Under cross-examination, he testified that although he spent more than an hour in the home where the dog fight had taken place, he did not see dogs fighting even though he passed the wooden structure several times.
Peter Wall said the owner of the property was a friend of Butler and they had invited them for an impromptu braai on their way back from a trip to Mossel Bay.
He also testified that he had been standing in a small kitchen area with his co-accused before police stormed the property, and despite the kitchen having an open-plan layout and overlooking the lounge where the pit was set up, he did not notice any dogs or dog fighting.
However, he later added he did see police “throw” his 12-year-old son into the pit during the raid.
In May 2013, three of the 10 men arrested that day – Johannes Joubert of Joburg, Ferdinand Endeman of Somerset West and Anthony Blake of Plettenberg Bay – pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
In July the same year, Bill Marais, another Plett resident whose property was used for the fights, pleaded guilty and was sentenced.
Garden Route Media