Tail of Woe Lands Tail Docker in The Dock

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The practice of amputating a dog’s tail for purely cosmetic reasons – called tail docking is considered to be a cruel and illegal practice. 

On 08 October 2022, a crossbreed puppy was brought in to the Cape of Good Hope SPCA’s Mobile Clinic in Eerste River.

The clinic staff were shocked to discover that the puppy’s tail had recently been hacked off – a backyard docking job gone horribly wrong.

The person who brought the puppy in (who was not the dog’s owner), claimed that the young dog had been “adopted” by his owner a month prior and that the tail had been docked by the “owner’s friend.”

The on-site Mobile Clinic Operator could see straight away that the dog needed urgent medical treatment.

Left unattended, infection would quickly set in and the dog would not survive his ordeal.

An offer to admit the dog to the SPCA for treatment was refused because the person with the dog claimed he did not have the owner’s permission to send the dog to hospital.

The Mobile Clinic Operator was powerless to do anything else but request the SPCA Inspectorate department to investigate an urgent case of animal cruelty.

Later that same day, SPCA Inspector Theo Arendolf – no stranger to investigating animal cruelty cases – went to the address given as being that of the dog’s owner. There, the owner admitted to the inspector that his friend had cut the dog’s tail off a few days earlier. The owner agreed to allow Inspector Arendolf to take the dog in to the SPCA Animal Hospital for veterinary examination and treatment. The owner was encouraged to submit an affidavit of exactly what happened to the dog and name who maimed him.

According to Dr Stephan Spamner, an SPCA veterinarian, the dog suffered unnecessarily and was evidently in discomfort – the tail was exposed and the dog continuously licked the wound.

The dog received intensive treatment and pain medication was also added to the treatment regimen to make the patient as comfortable as reasonably possible.

Less than a week later when Inspector Arendolf returned to the property to collect the owner’s sworn statement as had been agreed, the owner decided to change his tune – now he claimed that he had received the dog with the tail already docked!

On 19 October 2022, Inspector Arendolf completed his investigation and, armed with the medical report provided by the vet, returned to the property and under full right of law, seized the puppy.

Realising that he was potentially facing criminal charges under the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962, the dog’s owner opted to surrender the dog to the SPCA in the hopes of getting off lightly. Nevertheless, charges of animal cruelty were laid against the owner on 31 October 2022 at the Kleinvlei police station.

Bimbo, as we named the puppy, is now looking for his forever home.

If you would like to offer Bimbo a second chance at a good life, click on the button below, or contact our Adoptions team by sending an email to adopions@spca-ct.co.za

Did You Know?

  • Tail docking (and maiming any animal) is a contravention in terms of Section 2(1)(a) of the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962.
  • Tail docking should only ever be performed by a qualified veterinary surgeon and then only for strict medical reasons of animal health.
  • Tail docking is a painful procedure for an animal to undergo. Just because an animal is young (e.g. a puppy) does not mean it feels less pain.
  • Done incorrectly, a botched tail docking can lead to infection, cause irreversible nerve damage and interfere with your dogs’ normal toilet activities.
  • Tail docking does nothing to improve your dog’s physical ability or wellbeing.
  • There are no benefits at all to your dog having its tail amputated.
  • The practice of amputating a dog’s tail for purely cosmetic reasons – called tail docking is considered to be a cruel and illegal practice

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