Unlike other countries, Zimbabwe does not have a Dangerous Dogs Act, and as such, there are no breeds that are illegal to keep.
In the United Kingdom, for instance, owners of killer dogs face up to 14 years in jail if their dog attacks someone, even if that attack happens in the dog owner’s yard.
And after the recent legislative changes that ended decades of lax rules, it is now possible to prosecute if a dog attacks someone in the owner’s home, closing a much-criticised loophole. Since 2005, 20 people in the United Kingdowm were mauled to death by dogs but the owners only faced up to two years’ imprisonment.
But after the changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act, the sentence for a dog attack that leads to an injury has been increased from two to five years.
According to dangerousdogs.net, the five most dangerous dogs, in order of viciousness, are the Pitbull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes.
In September last year, an 8-year-old child was mauled to death by two boerbull dogs in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park suburb after the pets escaped from the premises they were locked in. They escaped through an open gate while the owner of the house was parking his car.
Owner Bruce Dhliwayo was reported as having acknowledged that his dogs escaped through the gate without him noticing them and attacked two of his neighbour’s children who were playing outside their home.
In April, police in Honde Valley area investigated the mysterious death of a 60-year-old man whose headless body was found lying some metres from his head, parts of whose flesh had been bitten off by dogs.
Across the country’s borders, police investigations in Namibia revealed that Tendai Chiweshe — son to Judge President George Chiweshe — fell off a perimeter wall trespassing into private premises housing a tuck-shop from where he intended to purchase some petty groceries and was mauled to death by vicious dogs.
According to Namibian Chief of Police, Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga, in his desperate moment of trying to flee the charging dogs, he fell and was mauled by the vicious pets.
He was taken to Windhoek Central Hospital where he later succumbed to the injuries.
Inspector Phillip Munyaradzi, the officer-in-charge of the Zimbabwe Republic Police Canine Section, commonly referred to as “the dog section”, said that all dogs can be controlled, as long as the owners of the dogs understand their behavioural traits.
“But we become worried,” he said, “when members of society keep rare breeds which they have little knowledge of their history or how they should be kept, these are the dogs that become a danger to society.”
He also encouraged dog owners, especially those who will not be in the know of how to train, handle and feed their dogs, to get in touch with the canine unit, which will gladly help them.
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