Life on Static Chain – Not Acceptable for Dogs

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The Complaint

In June 2022 the Cape of Good Hope SPCA received a complaint about 2 large dogs, one of whom was tied to a static chain to a kennel, and the other, a cement log in the Kraaifontein area with no adequate shelter.

The initial investigation

On 7 June 2022, Inspector Mark Syces responded and investigated the case reported by a caring member of the public.

Upon inspection of the property, Inspector Syces found 2 dogs on the property and both dogs were permanently sentenced to life on static chains with minuscule living space, left without adequate shelter and unable to seek minimal comfort from the sun’s rays and the cold winter wind and rain, and living in a squalid environment.

Inspector Syces proceeded to issue an initial warning to the owner listing the contraventions found, and the necessary measure that needed to be put in place to rectify the situation within a stipulated timeframe to improve the welfare of the animals on the property.

Follow-up inspections

A few days later Inspector Syce proceeded to do a follow-up inspection, to which he found that both dogs were still in the same living conditions. Two more warnings were issued and by the third warning, the owner still hadn’t complied and the SPCA had no other option but to obtain a court order to intervene and confiscate both dogs off the property.

The seizure

Upon seizure, the owner had concealed one of the dogs, which resulted in us unfortunately only being able to rescue one dog. Eyewitnesses living near the property had told Inspector Syces that there had been no movement on the property for a consecutive number of days and that they had been throwing food over the wall to feed this dog.

Although the dog was in a fair condition physically, given these cruel living conditions, like humans, animals subjected to long periods of solitary confinement also suffer severe psychological damage. They become fearful, and aggressive and can ultimately give up hope and show little or no interest in the world outside their chain or pen.

Mental wellbeing

It’s, therefore, no surprise that chained dogs often become distressed and become aggressive and attack- and more often than not, bite children who often try to innocently approach them because they are unsocialised and kept in “solitary confinement” for an extended period of time; their living spaces are reduced to only a few square feet trapped at the end of a chain or a small pen, which heightens their territoriality; and they don’t have the option of escaping during a confrontation. As a result, these dogs are not only an animal welfare issue but also a public safety hazard.

Although we have managed to rescue one dog, we are not going to give up hope until we find the second dog that was concealed.

Animal cruelty charges

Charges of animal cruelty will be laid against the owner in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 for both animal cruelty and for concealing the one dog.

Report cruelty

We urge the public to please report any cruelty directly to our Inspectorate by calling our 24/7 call centre on 021 700 4158/9 or by sending an email to

The five animal freedoms

All living beings have basic necessities.

This includes access to food, water, and shelter.

In order to assist humans to provide animals with the essentials they need to live, animal behavourists developed the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare. These are namely freedom from:

  1. Hunger or thirst
  2. Discomfort
  3. Pain, injury, or disease
  4. Expressing normal behaviour
  5. Fear and distress

There’s no way for animals to verbally express to us how they’re feeling in plain language, and as humans we can only make our best guesses based on the behaviours we observe at any given moment.

Therefore, the aim of the five freedoms is to assert every animal’s right to basic humane treatment, regardless of their species. Yet, every day, there are countless animals, many of whom suffer from unimaginable cruelty at the hands of the humans who supposedly look after them.

Life on static chain – not acceptable for dogs

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