Animal Abuser Found Guilty Gets A Slap on The Wrist

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The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is disappointed  following the sentencing of a man who recently faced charges of animal cruelty in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court.  Sentenced to a fine of R3000 or 3 months in prison, the accused, 70 year-old Mr Johannes Schreinder, got off lightly after several animals living in parasitic conditions and suffering from severe neglect were seized from his property in December 2019.

Imagine living in this! Imagine the water you had to drink looked like this, imagine living in piles of your own feaces and imagine your food plate …….. empty. 

This is how Josh the Macaw was living when Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse and Inspector Jeffery Mfini conducted a follow up inspection of Mr Johannes Schreinder‘s Bergvliet home on the 18th of December 2019. 

A Guinea Pig, living in a putrid-smelling cage with rotting substrate and cockroaches and without access to water, was removed during the first inspection on the 11th of December 2019
The Warnings Went Unheeded

With worsening conditions noted between the first inspection conducted on the 11th of December and the follow up inspection on the 18th of December, we were left with no other alternative than to remove all the animals, 2 Dogs, a Macaw, 3 Geese, 2 Ducks, a Cat, and a Tortoise, from Schreinder’s care under a warrant issued by the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on the 24th of December 2019.

The Deterioration of Josh's Drinking Water Between The 11th and 18th of December

Criminal offences for contraventions of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962 are punishable by law and could result in a 12-month prison term or a maximum fine of R40 000.00.

It is a contravention of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962 to:  

  • (c) unnecessarily starve or under-feed or deny water or food to any animal;
  • (b) confine, chain, tether or secure any animal unnecessarily or under such conditions or in such a manner or position as to cause that animal unnecessary suffering or in any place which affords inadequate space, ventilation, light, protection or shelter from heat, cold or weather;
  • (e) being the owner of any animal, deliberately or negligently keeps such animal in a dirty or parasitic condition or allows it to become infested with external parasites or fail to render or procure veterinary or other medical treatment or attention 
It Was a Long Wait In The Hope of Justice

Almost 3 and a half years, is how long we waited to tell their stories to the Court.  Their’s was a tale of absolute deprivation, of the denial of the very basics of care.  Deprived of fresh food and water, infested with fleas, untreated ears bleeding from fly-strike and a filthy living environment meant their story had the makings of a real horror.

The 3rd of May 2023 The Matter Finally Came Before The Court

Imagine now, two men carrying the weight of testimony, the preparation, the revisiting of years-old case documents, the pressure to get it right, to give your best on behalf of these animals who can’t speak for themselves.  Imagine the intimidation faced during a grueling cross questioning from the accused’s private representation and then the brief relief knowing that both witnesses for the Cape of Good Hope SPCA have given a faultless account, stood up to scrutiny and passed with flying colours. Imagine their leaping hearts as they hear the Magistrate, in passing judgement find the accused guilty.  Imagine them holding their breath for sentencing and imagine the disappointment when this is the equivalent of a slap on the wrist.

The Sentence

While we are pleased that the sentence was handed down as unsuspended, Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse says “I am so disappointed, the presiding Magistrate, her Worship Ms Rajap sentenced the accused to a fine of only R3000.00 or three months in prison.  This seems like a small price for Mr. Schreinder to pay for the suffering he caused these animals”.

While we are disappointed at the outcome, there is a second case of animal cruelty against Mr Schreinder that must still be heard by the Court.  During this incident in February 2022,  Inspector Jeffrey Mfini had to approach the Simon’s Town Magistrates Court to obtain an order to enter Schreinder’s property in Fish Hoek. The animals, including yet another Macaw found at the property were once again trapped in filthy, parasitic conditions with no access to fresh water read more here 

Tomorrow Is Another Day

We’re disappointed, but not disheartened, because, imagine a world in which animal matters were not considered important enough to be heard by the Court.  Imagine what would happen if our Inspectors just gave up!  Fortunately, this will never happen because we will never stop fighting animal cruelty, no matter how many disappointments we have to face.  We’re proud to have a resilient team who, because of your support, live to fight another day! 

Plus, There's This .....

None of the animals removed from Schreinder’s care will ever endure suffering like that again.  Just look at Josh, who is now living his best life at Birds of Eden free flight bird sanctuary in Plettenberg Bay. 

SPCA Inspector kneels next to a Macaw in a filthy cage. The water in the bowl is not fit to drink and the food bowl is empty.
Inspector Jeffery Mfini at the cage of Josh the Macaw on the 24th of December 2019 when the animals were removed from owner care

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