Unchain me General – I am suffering

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The General clamped down on a house of horrors on Friday where several dogs were found in a severely emaciated state.  A state which was resultant from compounded neglect over time.  Dogs are naturally able to go longer without food but their tolerance for not drinking water is much less. At most a dog can go three days without water intake but can survive for five to seven days or more without food.  In context, these chained dogs were left to weather the elements with no access to food or water for a undetermined period of time.  What is clear, they have survived by miracle on the bear minimum scraps or what they could scavenge on chains so short it impaired their natural movement.

Inspector Siviwe Noko, also known as, “The General” has been in the employ of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA for little over four and a half years.

“These dogs were kept in a most horrendous manner, I felt so sorry for them.  If we did not reach them when we did they would have died a slow death”  the General reported.


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A gentle giant turned into an assertive warrior in a blink of an eye
The owner of the property wanted no involvement in the matter and said Inspector Noko must take up the matter with the tenants.  He allegedly also did not have phone or a phone number for the tenants who were the owners of the dogs.  The determined Inspector drove from house to house asking if members of the community know who lives there and if they have a contact number to reach the owner.  His perseverance paid off, when he finally got the phone number of the tenant.
The Cape of Good SPCA inspectors must operate within the ambit of the law.  Inspectors can only issue warnings, fines are imposed by a court of law.  Inspectors can not enter private property without the consent of the owner / occupier, failing to obtain consent means an inspector must obtain a court order to enter and or to seize animals. 
The landlord provided consent for the General to enter the property, but the tenant had much more to say.  “Get off my f#$%^ing property, you leave my f#$%^ing dogs alone or you will see what i do to you” said the man on the phone.  “I will see what? replied the General.  Are you threatening me sir?”  I am here now, what are we going to do about these dogs the General asked.  Moments later an infuriated man in a bakkie pulled up.  It was the owner.  What transpired next was a delicate dalliance of negotiation for the love of animals.  A heated debate dealt with calmly by solid wall of iron “I am not leaving these animals here in that state” the General insisted.

Inspectors face serious challenges, they enter dangerous areas and in many instances go where angels fear to tread. They are sworn at, shot at and often have to collaborate with the South African Police Service to execute their duties. More often than not bearing witness to some of the most horrific scenes imaginable to man. The traumatic experiences often have a long-lasting impact on inspectors, many of whom experience secondary trauma. Cape of Good Hope SPCA has all staff membered to ICAS (www.icas.co.za) for confidential debriefing and referral to professional help when needed.

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The General emerges victorious

Inspector Noko managed to turn the situation around and convinced the owner to surrender the dogs into the care of the SPCA.  He brought them to the Grassy Park facility, off loaded them one by one and gave each one food and water.  As he opened each kennel to give food and water, watching a starving animal clear the bowl of specially prepared soft food in less than 3.5 seconds was a traumatic experience for this staff writer who happened to be on a drive along with the General.  This is why we need to keep inspectors on the road.

According to a recent report by the Dullah Omar Institute  lockdown in South Africa has made it even harder for people to enjoy basic needs and amenities such as food, water and sanitation, information, transportation, employment and health[1]. If our most vulnerable populations are struggling to meet their own basic needs for survival, how are they meeting the needs of their animal companions?  Many owners are not able to meet the physical, mental and emotional needs of an animal.  Read more about socio-economic on animal welfare here  

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