Sacrifice: Rescued Camps Drift puppy may not be the first

2008-08-01 00:00

While the puppy that almost became a ritual sacrifice is clinging to life, it has emerged that he is not the first victim of such cruelty at Camps Drift.

The Border collie-cross puppy, which was found at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday, was still alive yesterday, although his condition had not greatly improved, according to the SPCA.

“He is not yet walking, but this could be because he is still in pain from his injuries. It is still touch and go, but we remain positive that he will pull through. He’s terrified of loud voices and very timid, but is not crying as much,” said SPCA inspector Robert Deere yesterday.

Deere said that no one had called in to claim the puppy yesterday, but they had been flooded with calls from well-wishers and people wanting to adopt the pup, who is thought to be younger than six weeks old.

Originally nicknamed Assi — short for Assegai — the puppy is now called Bernard, in honour of his rescuer, local homeless man Thulani Bernard Khwela.

Bernard is the second dog to suffer the ordeal of being pierced with spears and buried alive in the last nine months.

He was found on Thursday, pierced with spears and buried alive alongside a dead black chicken, a mirror, underwear, a sock, two blue and red candles and headgear made from animal skins.

The traumatised pup suffered a punctured lung and intestinal injuries.

In November last year, The Witness reported that another puppy was found with wounds that showed it had been stabbed all the way through the shoulder, and placed in a hole with dead chickens before being buried alive under a clump of sand and grass. Candles were placed round the hole.

A case of animal cruelty was opened, but no progress was made in the matter. Happily, that dog survived and was rehomed, said SPCA spokesperson Maureen Vida, who believes the two cases are related.

“It is such a cruel barbaric thing to do,” she said.

Vida said that the SPCA has also found other animals at Camps Drift that died under gruesome circumstances. “In one instance we found some cats under the bridge there that had been skinned.”

She praised Khwela, who had heard the puppy whimpering and summoned help. Vida was also concerned that other dogs and animals may have been tortured but not been discovered at Camps Drift.

Deere said that he believes the ritual was related to muthi and not Satanism. “From what we gather, this is a muthi practice. Some of our staff are familiar with this and will not come near the puppy. They definitely don’t want to touch the dog.”

Bernard was a pitiful sight when he arrived at the SPCA. “He had soil in his mouth, eyes and nose and embedded in his wounds.”

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