Criminals are killing a thousand dogs a week in so that they can break into homes and rob the owners without being savaged by their loyal family pets.
As many as 40 dogs were poisoned in one town over a single night last week.
Shocking images have emerged showing how faithful hounds are being massacred by gangs in their front and back gardens.
Gerhard Verdoon, director at the Griffon Poison Information Centre in Port Elizabeth, revealed that dogs are being fed meat laced with deadly poison.
Mr Verdoon noted that the poison is so powerful that it kills a small dog in as little as 5 minutes and a large dog in less than 15 minutes.
He added that few pets ever survive a dose of the poison.
'The poison used is very potent – around 97% of animals that are poisoned die,' Verdoon said.
'They use Aldicarb known as 'two-step' because you eat it then take two steps and die.
'The criminals usually put them in hot dogs or mix it up with mince and feed it to the dogs and once the dogs are dead the homes are then easy targets for housebreaking or theft.
'It is normally used on dogs that sleep outside to protect the family and in the early hours of the morning they throw the meat over the fence and watch as the dog eats the meat.
'They leave it an hour to make sure then come back to carry out an armed robbery or a burglary often attacking those inside and stealing their cash and valuables and cars.
'The figure of up to 1000 dogs a week is extremely distressing and is on the rise' he said.
Verdoon said the poison is banned in South Africa but is smuggled over the border from Zimbabwe by crime syndicates and sold illegally to criminals to kill pets and guard dogs.
He continued: 'What happens is that the animal's nervous system shuts down and the dog is paralysed and then the suffocates to death. It is a very unpleasant way for a dog to die.
'This is affecting the whole country and the poison is used in farm attacks as well,' he said.
Cora Bailey, director of Community Led Animal Welfare, said that 40 dogs were killed in Florida, a suburb of Johannesburg, last Wednesday by criminals breaking into houses.
She said: 'This has been going on for years. It's a massive problem. This poison is being sold everywhere. Keep your pets inside at night as it is safer for you and for the dog.
'Criminals do not want to enter a property where a dog can alert homeowners,' she said.
South Africa is rated as one of the most dangerous countries in the world with nearly 20,000 murders a year, 50,000 rapes and 275,000 robberies and burglaries in private homes.
Compiled by Olalekan Adeleye