‘Cat shooter’ in court

2016-02-09 06:00
Wayne Cleinwerck and his partner Bliqees Masoet exit Wynberg Magistrate’s Court after the appearance of the neighbour they have accused of killing their pet cat. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Wayne Cleinwerck and his partner Bliqees Masoet exit Wynberg Magistrate’s Court after the appearance of the neighbour they have accused of killing their pet cat. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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“I have no closure. We didn’t do a proper burial or send-off for our lovely cat and that hurts the most.”

These are the words of Wayne Cleinwerck from Diep River who is mourning his pet cat that was allegedly shot and killed by a neighbour on Friday 29 January.

His one-year-old cat Nahla had allegedly been shot with a high pressure air rifle in a communal garden.

The cat has not been found and Cleinwerck has opened a case with the police.

His neighbour Antonie Gericke, who is accused of killing the cat, appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on charges of animal cruelty on Thursday last week.

Representatives of the Cat Trapping Association, friends and family of Cleinwerck came to court to support the cat lover.

Gericke told prosecutor Craig Esterhuyse that he would be representing himself in court. The case has been postponed to 1 March for further investigation.

After his brief court appearance, Gericke spoke to People’s Post and said he was sorry for what he had done and that it had been his mistake.

“I didn’t mean to hurt the cat. I’m a bird lover. There is nothing I can do now, it’s just that the cat was playing with my birds.

“I haven’t spoken to the family to apologise because I don’t want things to get out of hand, but I’m really sorry.

“I have no idea what happened to the cat after it ran out and someone says they saw it cross the road. That’s all I can say for now, the rest I will say to the magistrate,” he said.

Cleinwerck, who was accompanied to court by his girlfriend Bliqees Masoet, says they want to see justice done.

“We searched, but we could not find the cat. [Gericke] admitted shooting the cat to another neighbour and said he shot its paw. We just want to know where he put her body, because he confessed that he killed the cat.

“Checking the video footage of our complex, it shows him looking outside the courtyard to see if there was anyone there. The next thing he is coming out with a carrier bag, but you can’t see what’s inside.

“Six minutes later he comes back into his flat.”

“That makes me think that he went to dispose Nahla’s body. Why would he go out with a bag when our garbage is collected on a Thursday?” asks Cleinwerck.
He and Masoet confronted Gericke the same night and were told that their cat had been in Gericke’s garden upsetting his birds.
“That’s not his garden. This is a communal garden. What really makes me upset is the fact that not even once have I got a complaint about the cat in ‘his garden’,” says Cleinwerck.
Stella Ramage, another neighbour, says she and her son saw it all through their window and it left them traumatised.
“We heard a loud bang, so we peeked through the window. I then saw [Gericke] pick up the cat, which was covered in blood, [and take it] into his flat.
“My son is only four years old and he had to go for counselling. I’m also going for counselling because after he noticed that we saw them he came to my flat. He said I shouldn’t say anything because if I said anything about the cat I would be in trouble. I asked him to take the cat to the vet, but he said the cat was fine. I told him to give it to me so that I could take it to the vet; he refused and kept the cat in his house.
“He was being aggressive and threatening, so much so that my son began to cry, so I asked him to leave as he was getting upset. That’s when I called Wayne to come home,” she says.
June Bradbury of the Cat Trapping Association says she is very angry about the situation.
“It really pains me. We rescued the cat from appalling conditions and we had to go through a lot to nurse her and now that she had found a loving home this happens.”
Belinda Abraham from the Cape of Good Hope SPCA says it is a very serious matter.
“The SPCA views this matter as a callous act of animal brutality and has laid charges against the accused. The police confiscated the alleged shooter’s rifle. In addition to this, the SPCA will appeal to the magistrate for a deprivation of ownership order, preventing the accused from ever owning an animal,” says Abraham.


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