KZN veterinary surgeon in court over charges of abusing her six dogs and a cat

2014-01-30 00:00

A KWAZULU-NATAL veterinary surgeon, Louise Powell, is negotiating a plea bargain over charges that she subjected her six dogs and a cat to cruel treatment.

The animals were confiscated by the SPCA last year.

The Witness was told that Powell is currently not practising as a vet.

She previously denied guilt in the case but yesterday her legal aid lawyer told Howick magistrate T.J. Nene there was a possibility that a plea agreement might be reached. Following further consultations between Powell, state prosecutor Loretta Knox and SPCA officials, the court was advised that negotiations were underway.

The case was postponed until next week for the terms of the agreement to be finalised and the paperwork to be completed.

The Umgeni SPCA laid criminal charges against Powell after they seized five Yorkshire Terriers, a Japanese Chin dog (which is a similar breed to a Pekingese), as well as a cat, from a vacant property in Merrivale on April 18 last year. It is alleged that the dogs were discovered living in small cages locked inside a dark and dingy outbuilding on the smallholding.

The dogs were allegedly suffering from flea infestation and skin conditions, and some allegedly had to undergo dental procedures due to the poor condition of their teeth.

The cat, though roaming free on the property, was also removed by the officials who were concerned that there was no one on the property to care for it adequately.

The SPCA was alerted to the dogs’ plight by a passerby who heard whimpering, yelping and barking whilst walking in the vicinity. After obtaining a search warrant, SPCA officials were escorted to the property by police and gained entry to the locked outbuilding by cutting a padlock.

The Witness has learned that one of the Yorkshire Terriers later suffered a heart attack and died, and the cat also died of alleged renal failure.

The remaining dogs are still in the SPCA’s care pending the outcome of the trial.

The charge sheet alleges Powell contravened the Animals Protection Act and the Criminal Procedure Act.

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