Court: Scores of animals were found in horrible conditions

2008-04-03 00:00

A woman has appeared in a Howick court facing 236 counts of cruelty to animals including, dogs, cats, pigs and horses.

The charge sheet gives descriptions of 47 animals that were allegedly subjected to cruel treatment at the hands of Merna Craig (60), whose current address is in Drummond.

The cruel acts allegedly took place in October 2006, at Little Spring Farm in the district of Lions River.

The case against Craig was postponed this week until April 18. The defence has requested further particulars relating to the charges.

In counts one to 48, Craig is charged with contravening the Animal Protection Act of 1962 in that she allegedly ill-treated or neglected the animals referred to — 12 dogs, 29 cats, four Vietnamese potbellied-cross pigs, a horse and a pony. The same animals feature in the other charges.

In counts 49 to 95, it is alleged that she confined or secured the creatures under such conditions as to cause them unnecessary suffering; counts 96 to 142 allege she starved or underfed the animals; counts 143 to 189 allege she kept them in a “dirty or parasitic condition”, or failed to render veterinary or other medical treatment and attention to the animals; and counts 190 to 236 alleges she confined or restrained the animals in a manner which caused them unnecessary suffering, exposed them to inadequate shelter and inadequate provision of suitable food.

In February this year, The Witness reported on the plight of 117 animals said to have been seized by the Howick SPCA from the Craig property.

The SPCA complained that the organisation could not find new homes for the animals until the court case has been finalised.

It was reported that SPCA inspectors found neglected animals in bedrooms, cages and in “every possible nook and cranny” around Craig’s house.

Dead kittens were allegedly found rotting in cages with live animals, and the animals were reportedly seriously diseased.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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