SA animal activists held in Angola

2012-08-23 16:52
One of the smuggled dogs. (Photo supplied)

One of the smuggled dogs. (Photo supplied)

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Cape Town - A South African woman, her husband and her daughter, who were trying to get dogs smuggled from the country back home, were allegedly locked in a room for hours in Angola, allegedly by officials who had helped the smugglers. They were reportedly being held for their own safety.

South African police officials or the international relations department could not confirm the incident.

However, international relations’ Clayson Monyela told News24 that South African embassy officials in Angola had been alerted to the situation and will speak to the relevant authorities.

Maghitta Visser, an animal activist, along with Marchelle Vermaak and Maghitta’s husband, Dirk, had gone over the border to Angola to rescue dozens of dogs that had been stolen from their South African owners, allegedly for dog fighting.

The dogs were taken over the border from South Africa to Namibia and were destined for Angola.

All papers in order

It was initially unclear how many dogs had been smuggled or when, but another activist, Marlene Hugo said 38 dogs that had been found were already lost to authorities. Visser had apparently gone to the Angolan border to rescue dozens more.
Visser and her family have now been locked in an office somewhere on the Angolan-Namibian border.

Officials apparently told Visser that they were locked up for their own safety but activists who have been in contact with the family say they complained of being assaulted.

Activists claim that Angolan authorities are working with the smugglers as Visser had apparently seen top police officials talking and laughing with them.

The men who had smuggled the dogs apparently had import and export permits as well as vaccination certificates from the state veterinarian in South Africa.

The stolen dogs were packed into a trailer. Many had been taken from owners in Cape Town.

Brutal dog fights

According to activists, the dogs would travel thousands of kilometres across South Africa, Namibia and Angola without food or water.

Fights would involve three dogs - one a long-haired animal, such as a Husky, would be covered in blood. A fighting dog, such as an German Shepherd or Rottweiler, would be set upon the long-haired dog. Then another fighting dog would be let loose.

If the animals don’t die in the fight, they would be beaten to death. Smugglers can fetch up to R5 000 per dog.

The NSCPA’s Wendy Willson told News24, however, that many dogs are also used for breeding and security. Willson also said many dogs are legally transported to other parts of Africa.

There is no animal welfare in Angola and the NSPCA has no jurisdiction in that country.

The police’s Captain Dennis Adriao said they were working with authorities in Angola to get the dogs back to South Africa.

- Follow Lauren on Twitter

Read more on:    namibia  |  angola  |  sa  |  animal abuse  |  animals

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