During the festive season, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA received many reports of pet abandonment by their owners. Most reports were about owners who went away on holiday and left their pets unattended.
In some cases, the owners merely left enough water and food, with no one to come in and check up on the animals or clean up after them, resulting in the animals living in dirty and unhygienic conditions.
Here is such a story…
On 31 December 2022, the Cape of Good Hope SPCA received a complaint from a concerned member of the public about two (2) dogs that were allegedly abandoned in Thornton. The complainant informed us that the owner has reportedly been away for two (2) weeks and that no one is coming to look after the dogs.
Our team conducted an investigation on the same day the matter was reported to us. We take issues of abandonment very seriously.
Upon our arrival at the property, no one was at home. Over the wall, the Inspectors could see a large amount of old faeces, and the grass was overgrown. All signs of the dogs either being abandoned or not being looked after. A warning was issued and stuck to the gate for the owners to contact the SPCA within 24 hours to establish if the dogs were indeed abandoned as reported. Before our team left, they gave the dogs food and water.
The following day our Inspectors returned to the property to check up on the dogs and to see if anyone was at home. Upon arrival, our Inspectors found no one at home and our warning was still stuck to the gate. With it being a public holiday, our Inspectors could not obtain a court order, and a further warning was issued and attached to the gate for the owner to contact the SPCA within 24 hours. Food and water were once again provided to the dogs.
When the owners did not respond to our warnings, which were still on the gate, our Inspectors had no other alternative but to apply for a court order from the Goodwood Magistrates court to enter the property and seize the dogs.
With court order in hand, our Inspectors returned to the property with the assistance of the Pinelands South African Police Service (SAPS). We are not permitted to enter any property without the consent of the owner or occupier, and failing such consent, we must apply for a court order, as we have done in this case.
When our Inspectors entered the property, they found old faeces scattered all over the property, and the grass was overgrown. It was evident that the owners had not been home for some time. Both dogs were removed by our Inspectors and were taken to our Animal Care Centre in Grassy Park for veterinary examination and further care.
“No animal should be left unattended, even if enough food and water have been provided. Anything could happen to the animal, resulting in the animal getting injured, suffering, or dying. When pet owners go away on holiday, they must do the responsible thing and get a pet sitter to look after the animals, or at the very least, the pet sitter must check in on the animals at least once a day.” said Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse
The Law & Animal Cruelty Charges
It is a criminal and prosecutable offence in terms of Section 2(1)(p) of the Animals Protection Act to abandon any animal, albeit deliberately or without reasonable cause or excuse, regardless of whether it is permanent or not or in circumstances likely to cause that animal unnecessary suffering.
Any person found guilty on a charge in terms of the Animals Protection Act may be sentenced to a fine of up to R40,000 and or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, with a criminal record.
Criminal charges will be opened against the owner in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 for abandonment of their pets.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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