Confiscated pets still without loving homes

2008-02-20 00:00

The Howick SPCA, which confiscated 117 animals from a Howick couple over a year ago, cannot send them to new homes until the court case is decided.

The animals, which include a beautiful Dalmatian, need loving homes.

“We are a welfare organisation and cannot afford to sustain these animals for much longer,” said Alec Wylie from the SPCA in Howick.

The couple kept all 117 animals, mostly dogs and cats, at their home in Howick. The animals included two horses, three pigs and two birds.

The woman allegedly moved to Howick from Johannesburg and began collecting stray animals off the side of the road and buying animals from people who advertised their pets.

By the time Wylie visited the couple’s premises he found 117 sick and neglected animals in the bedrooms, in cages outside and in every possible nook and cranny around the house.

Wylie said the stench of urine and faeces was so strong that it burned his eyes when he entered the house.

A sheep dog, like the one in the Dulux advertisement, had lost 85% of its hair. Dead kittens’ bodies were left to rot in cages with live animals.

All the animals were diseased and sick. Their teeth were rotting; they had gingivitis, growths, worms and ticks.

One dog had a growth the size of his head on his hind leg and the pigs were fighting each other for scraps of food.

The SPCA found the couple in contravention of almost all the clauses in Section 2 of the Animal Protection Act of 1962. These violations in a nutshell describe that animals were made to suffer unnecessarily by being placed in cages that were too small, being inadequately fed (all were on a diet of puthu) and being grossly mistreated and neglected.

In the light of these conditions, the SPCA felt it had no choice but to take the animals away from the couple.

Because the Howick SPCA is so small, they were unable to house all the animals and had to send some to the SPCA in Pietermaritzburg.

Wylie, who has been dealing with the case since October 2006, says these cases should not take so long to be resolved.

The conclusion of investigations is a necessary requirement for the courts to issue the parties concerned with a summons to appear in court.

Public prosecutor Laurette Knox said an investigation into such a large number of animals takes time, but she is optimistic that the matter will soon be resolved in court.

Wylie does not seem as optimistic, and said he has been promised a hearing since November last year.

Until this matter is resolved, the animals continue to receive veterinary care, proper food and shelter at the SPCAs in Pietermaritzburg and Howick.

The expenses for this care already exceed the R5 000 pay-out that the SPCA will receive, should they win the case.

Wylie said the SPCA is almost as bad as the couple, in the sense that they cannot provide the animals with the loving homes they deserve and as a result are stifling their freedom.

“We cannot give these animals away to people who will provide them with loving homes until after the hearing,” said Wylie.

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