In a pivotal courtroom showdown, justice has triumphed in the case of the State versus Mr. Franco Louw, and the sentence is a beacon of hope for the Cape of Good Hope SPCA and animal welfare advocates everywhere.
Louw was brought before the Somerset West Magistrate’s Court, facing charges under the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 1962 for the continued neglect of his dog, who endured a life of misery while chained.
A firm and uncompromising sentence was handed down on the 7th of August 2023: an unsuspended fine of R2000.00 or a two-month prison term for Louw.
This verdict carries an unambiguous message to our society – a stern stand against any form of animal cruelty. Unlike a suspended sentence, which might delay punishment pending good behaviour, a non-suspended sentence commands immediate accountability and we couldn’t be happier.
Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse says, “Justice has prevailed, and we are encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by the judicial system’s ruling. It is a commitment to our ongoing fight against animal cruelty.”
Louw’s dog, relegated to a life of isolation on a chain, was frequently without fresh drinking water and was unable to experience even the simplest of joys; running freely, playing, exploring, or engaging with others. Despite repeated visits to his property by Inspector Siviwe Noko of The Cape of Good Hope SPCA, the dog’s situation remained unchanged.
A Life of Misery & Suffering
Inspector Noko, persisted despite encountering an uncooperative individual and facing formidable resistance. Through six visits to the property, his commitment to this dog never wavered even when met with defiance from the dog’s owner.
A Court Order becomes essential when all other avenues fail, and in this case, Inspector Noko had no choice but to seek one to legally intervene and rescue this dog from further suffering. The court order was granted, and the fight for justice began.
When Inspector Noko arrived at the owner’s residence with South African Police Services (SAPS) officers to execute the court order, he faced a defiant owner who was unwilling to cooperate. The owner threw the court order on the ground and physically prevented the seizure of the dog, obstructing an officer of the law in executing his duties.
But our Inspector’s resolve remained unshaken. Additional SAPS officers were summoned, and support from Law Enforcement in Strand was rallied. Inspector Noko was not leaving this dog to suffer for one more day.
In the end, a Seizure Notice was issued, Inspector Noko left with the dog he came to rescue and a case of animal cruelty was opened.
The outcome is a monumental victory for justice. Mr. Franco Jerome Louw, the individual responsible for the prolonged suffering of his dog, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a fine of R2000 or a two-month imprisonment.
A Clear Message
The message this ruling sends is clear: animal cruelty will not be tolerated in our Society, not by those who witness it, not by those who investigate it and not by those who hear the matter in court.
Our thanks go to every person who reports cruelty to animals and to every Magistrate who hands down a punishment that fits the crime.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA is opposed to the keeping of dogs on chains or ropes. In such cases, our mission is always first to educate the owners to help find a solution so that the dog is not kept chained or tethered. If no solution can be found, then this leaves our Inspectors with no other option but to remove the dog.