Cape of Good Hope SPCA Inspectorate Team

Successful Conviction Victory

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Picture:  Mayana tied

Picture:  Inspector Siviwe Noko

On the 18th of July 2018, The Cape of Good Hope SPCA responded to a cruelty report alleging a dog was being horribly abused by its owner in Manenberg. The woman who made the call to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA said she witnessed the owner kicking and choking his dog named Mayana. She further stated that many have repeatedly asked him to stop but he refused to listen and kept on doing it.

In his sworn statement and application to the court, Inspector Siviwe Noko stated “I met with the owner of the dog Mr Zoffery Cupido and asked him about the allegations, he became aggressive and he told me I should mind my own business as well as the person who reported him to the SPCA. I noticed the tan and white crossbreed dog with lots of materials and strings fastened tightly around the neck and rubber bands around the legs and the head. The dog’s legs appeared swollen.”

“I asked Mr Zoffery Cupido about the materials, strings and rubber bands that were around the dog’s neck and legs and he told me that it has nothing to do with me, it is his dog, I shouldn’t come there and tell him what to do or what not to do with his dog. I then asked him to please remove all the materials, strings and rubber bands tied around the dog’s neck and legs, because the head and legs appear swollen. Mr Zoffery Cupido then reluctantly removed them. He appeared to be angry. I could see that the dog felt relieved after the bands and strings were removed. She was immediately mobile, shaking her body and rubbing against the wall. I thought to myself, what could’ve happened to the dog if this was not reported to the SPCA?”

The owner was arrested on 10 September 2018 and first appeared in court on 12 September 2018. He was detained for more than three months for failure to pay bail. The state initially withdrew the case due to the lack of cooperation from the eyewitness. The SPCA opposed and approached the Department of Public Prosecutions to reopen the case and place it back on the court roll.

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Animal cruelty cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute. Last year, a total of 105 court cases were pending. 63 of the 105 cases were brought forward from the previous year waiting on the judicial system to process. 42 new court cases of animal cruelty were initiated in 2020/2021 period of which 5 were successfully concluded in conviction. This year the Cape of Good Hope SPCA initiated 53 new cruelty cases, of which 11 were closed by the state and 4 cases have thus far concluded in a successful conviction.

Magistrate’s discretion

Sentences related to the contravention of the Animal Protection Act currently cannot exceed a prison term of 12 months (in terms of offences in respect of animals) and 2 years (in respect of animal fighting). Each of these sentences exists in the alternative to an unspecified fine alone. In terms of the Adjustment of Fines Act of 1991, that means a maximum fine of R40 000 and R80 000. The presiding Magistrate has the discretion only to reduce a sentence and not to increase a sentence beyond the prescribed maximum when handing down judgement for animal cruelty. 

Judgement

In January 2022, Mr Cupido was found guilty of a criminal offence and sentenced with an R4000 fine or four months imprisonment, suspended for a period of three years on the condition he is not convicted of an offence in terms of the Animal Protection Act during the period of suspension. He now has a criminal record.

The inspector Siviwe said was relieved that the matter had reached a guilty verdict and thanked the public for their ongoing support. “It is your support that keeps our Inspectors in the courtrooms and allows them the privilege of speaking on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves” Noko concluded

Happy ending for Mayana

Since her ordeal in 2018, Mayana passed all her clinical and behavioural assessments and was responsibly rehomed to a loving home in December 2018.  Her new owners kept her original name Mayana.  The Cape of Good Hope SPCA hopes to do a special before/after feature of Mayana on its social media channels soon and is currently liaising with her owners in this regard.

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Mayana has just been relieved of elastic bands that had been wound around her fore limbs causing her feet to swell.

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