Suspects Arrested for Illegal Ear Cropping

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Picture:  Inspector Siviwe Noko

The Cape of Good Hope SPCA obtained information following a public appeal issued on Tuesday via its social media channel Facebook. A sting operation in Lotus River then led to the arrest of three suspects on Thursday, 24 February 2022. The suspect confirmed they met a man walking in the park with a dog that had cropped ears. They exchanged contact information and the puppy was then taken to that man for its ears to be cropped.

Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse, accompanied by Inspector Siviwe Noko and the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Animal Control Unit uncovered an illegal backyard operation in Lotus River yesterday. This followed after Inspector Noko approached the Wynberg Magistrates’ court early on Thursday morning for a court order to search the property in question. The investigation aimed to establish if ear cropping was performed illegally on the property and to see if there were any animal cruelty contraventions.

Officials gained access to the property and found six dogs on short static chains. The dogs were kept in dirty and unhygienic living conditions in contravention of Section 2(1)(e) and Section 2(1)(b) of the Animals Protection Act. Inspectors went into the house to search for evidence of paraphernalia associated with ear cropping.

Picture:  Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse seizing the scheduled medicines

Scheduled drugs, as well as a toolbox containing suture material, medical scissors and other equipment generally used for cropping of ears, were found. The majority of medications found were scheduled medicines and not for use without a prescription or the clinical oversight of a veterinarian or medical doctor.

Xyazine, a schedule 5 drug, was also found in the room and is usually used by veterinarians as an aesthetic. Tramadol, a schedule 5 opioid, was also found in the toolbox.

The situation became volatile once Inspectors made the discovery. Police were called in to contain the escalating situation. Officers from Grassy Park Police Station arrived and removed the scheduled medicine from the property. Two cellphones were also seized and taken in as evidence.

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The Cape of Good Hope SPCA proceeded with criminal charges, which included the following contraventions;

• Medicines and Related Substances Act 101 of 1965 for unlawfully being in possession of scheduled medicines (Schedule 3, 4 and 5 drugs);
• Section 8(4) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 for wilfully obstructing, hindering and/or resisting an officer authorized in terms of Section 8 of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962
• Section 2(1)(b) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 for keeping dogs on short static chains;
• Section 2(1)(e) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 for keeping dogs in dirty and parasitic conditions;
• Section 2(1)(a) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 for maiming dogs by cropping their ears (cutting their ears off)
• Veterinary and Para-Veterinary Professions Act 19 of 1982 for performing procedures only permitted to be performed by a registered veterinarian;
• Section 2(1)(q) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 for being witness to animal cruelty and failing to act or preventing the cruelty;

In his sworn statement, Chief Inspector Pieterse stated that he informed the dog owners that the SPCA is going to seize the dogs in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962. The suspects became very aggressive and told Inspector Pieterse that he will not be taking their dogs. He was also informed by them that “we will see what happens if we try to take our dogs”. The owner of the property obstructed inspectors from performing their duty by locking the front door and would not allow Inspectors access to seize the dogs. Police officers once again had to intervene to gain access to the property. A total of six dogs were seized.

All three suspects were arrested and detained. The dogs were confiscated and transported to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA facility in Grassy Park.

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