This resulted in the suspect being arrested and detained at the Maitland SAPS for contravening the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 and the Veterinary and Para Veterinary Act 19 of 1982.
The distressing incident took place when an individual, posing as a veterinarian, conducted the castration bare-handed on the owner’s dining room table.
The cat named Howard, was according to his owner, sedated but flinching throughout the entire procedure. She also noted excessive cutting to her cat’s scrotum and significant force to expose the testes. 2-3 Hours later, when Howard began bleeding profusely, he was rushed to a private veterinary practise in Rondebosch where he was stabilised overnight before being transferred to the PDSA on the morning of the 13th of July 2023.
A Qualified Assessment
The findings of the qualified treating veterinarian at the PDSA are horrifying and leave us with no doubt that the individual who carried out the procedure was not qualified to do so.
Howard was dehydrated and presented with pale pink mucous membranes and a packed cell volume well below the normal range – all indications of significant blood loss. In addition to this Howard was in terrible pain, the scrotal area had been poorly shaven, and bruising was apparent in his perineal area and on his caudal thighs, suggesting haemorrhaging or mishandling during the castration. Poorly defined incision borders and the excessive tying of the right pampiniform (venous) plexus and ductus (vas) deferens indicated a lack of surgical skill while, the left side was not ligated at all, indicating a severe oversight in the procedure.
In summary, Howard had endured unnecessary pain and suffering brought about by a very poor standard of surgery and he could have died as a result.
It has since been established that the individual who performed the castration is an Animal Health Technician registered with the SAVC and employed at a well known private veterinary practise.
A complaint has been lodged with the SAVC for unethical conduct and both the suspect’s employer and the Council are conducting investigations independently.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA Chief Inspect Jaco Pieterse is leading the charge for justice. He says, “The investigation, into this case, is critical in ensuring that the responsible party is held liable under the law and that justice is served for Howard who was subjected to cruel and unlawful treatment”.
It’s equally important that individuals masquerading as qualified veterinarians are prevented from plying their exploitative trade.
“We hope that the arrest of this individual and the coming criminal case serves as a warning to any other individuals defrauding the public and looking to make a quick buck by offering services they are unqualified for that result in animal suffering” says Chief Inspector Pieterse
After obtaining all the evidence, including eye-witness statements, a case was opened with Maitland SAPS on the 21st of July 2023 and the suspect was arrested and detained the same day. He makes his first court appearance on the 24th of July 2023.
While the convenience may seem appealing, it’s highly unlikely that any individual willing to treat, sterilise or even vaccinate your pet via a house call is a qualified veterinarian.
As a pet owner, it is your duty to protect your pets and ensure that they receive qualified care when this is needed.
Here are some tips to help you identify a potentially bogus veterinarian:
- House Calls by a qualified veterinarian are extremely unlikely, especially by an individual who is not your regular veterinarian
- They are generally recommended by a friend
- They offer routine veterinary treatments like deworming, vaccinations and tick and flea control at low prices
- If it’s too good to be true, you’re potentially being defrauded
- A qualified veterinarian would never carry out a surgical procedure in an unsterilised environment.
- If in doubt, consult SAVC to check if the person is indeed registered as a veterinarian by calling 012 345 6360. All practicing veterinarians must be registered with SAVC in terms of the Veterinary and Para Veterinary Act 19 of 1982.