Punished for cruelty

2014-09-13 00:00

A REPEATED animal abuser was finally brought to justice for his vicious maltreatment of 22 greyhound dogs.

The man was told he was lucky to escape jail.

Vryheid man Dlokwakhe Johnston Bopela was found guilty of animal cruelty on Thursday in connection with 22 dogs — some found with broken legs and injuries — that were confiscated by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) in 2011.

He was sentenced to a fine of R10 000 or 12 months’ imprisonment by the Vryheid Magistrate’s Court and has been banned from keeping animals in future in terms of a plea bargain between the accused, the state and the NSPCA.

The court also ordered him to hand over all other dogs in his possession to the NSPCA, who immediately removed his remaining 10 dogs.

He already had a previous conviction for similar charges in 2009.

Weekend Witness was told that in 2011 when Vryheid SPCA got a warrant to visit Bopela’s property, they found the 22 badly injured and unkempt greyhounds being kept in overcrowded and dirty conditions.

The NSPCA said some of the dogs had severe injuries that included broken legs and wounds. Eleven of them were in such bad condition that they had to be humanely euthanased on the same day.

“We found the dogs in appalling conditions. The yard where the dogs were living, was covered in faeces,” said senior inspector of the NSPCA, Jaco Pieterse.

“The NSPCA has proved in this case that we will not take animal abuse lightly and will fight until the end for justice to be served. We will continue to keep an eye and check up on him [Bopela] in future,” said Pieterse.

The reason for Bopela’s ownership of the dogs is unknown.

However, the NSPCA confirmed that greyhounds are often used for illegal dog racing as well as hunting.

Greyhound racing has been banned in South Africa since 1946. There are still illegal underground dog fights and races that take place throughout the country.

“We are opposed to all forms of animal abuse, especially racing. It is an ­inhumane sport,” said the NSPCA.

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