Girls who tortured hen escape punishment
Johannesburg - The National Council of SPCA's expressed disappointment on Tuesday that the State has declined to prosecute two Ladysmith schoolgirls in connection with a YouTube video showing the torture of a hen.
"We remain adamant that justice has not been done and that these abusive, insensitive and heartless girls have slipped through the system when in fact they should face up to the consequences of their actions," said NSPCA spokesperson Grace de Lange.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in KwaZulu-Natal has agreed to meet NSPCA executive director Marcelle Meredith.
"After a telephonic conversation with our CEO, the DPP has agreed to meet in order to reconsider the issue of prosecution with regard to the case," said De Lange.
The meeting was expected to happen before the end of the year and would allow the NSPCA to present facts that the DPP was not aware of, De Lange said.
According to De Lange, the girls are seen giggling and squealing with laughter as they torture the hen. The footage shows the girls throwing and kicking the hen back and forth. At the end of the video, the hen appears to be unconscious.
A caption posted with the video reads: "Well basically um this is what we do at sleepovers at 6am as you can see with the pajamas:) ... and the chicken did die )-o and please no animal cruelty lectures!!!:"
De Lange said that the NSPCA initially laid criminal charges against the high school girls in August, after learning of the YouTube video made three years ago.
"It would be a good thing to prosecute them because children should not be doing things like that and it would be a message to people who want to do silly things that you will be prosecuted," said De Lange.
People found guilty of contravening the Animals Protection Act could get a criminal record as well as penalties and may even be sentenced to serve time.
"There is no doubt in our minds that these girls horribly abused a living creature and need to be taken to task - legally. Frankly, putting this material on YouTube with a comment about 'please no animal cruelty lectures' indicates a complete lack of remorse," said De Lange.
The footage, posted on 1 July, has been removed from YouTube.