A WESTVILLE animal rescue centre says it feels under attack by the National Council of SPCAs, who called for sick animals at the centre to be euthanased. The SPCA released a statement this week calling for the almost 80 sick vervet monkeys cared for by the Monkey Helpline sanctuary to be put down, after visiting the sanctuary run on a private residential property. Monkey Helpline is registered with KZN Wildlife and has permission to keep 200 animals on site. Releasing the statement after they visited the premises, the SPCA said the conditions amounted to animal cruelty. They said the animals were kept in filthy, cramped cages without proper food and water. A warning in terms of the Animals Protection Act No. 71 of 162 was issued immediately. The inspection at Monkey Helpline was prompted by a complaint the NSPCA received, but it also had growing concerns regarding the number of animals seen at the facility on a previous inspection three months before. “Various excuses have been provided to inspectors on previous inspections, and we wholeheartedly believe that the conditions we witnessed at this inspection are adequate reflections of the general standards of care for animals at this facility.” In reply, the Monkey Helpline has accused the SPCA of distorting the facts. Currently about 211 vervet monkeys and some parrots are taken care of here, but according to Monkey Helpline’s Steve Smit, 11 animals are due to be released back to the wild after they were nursed back to health. The SPCA pointed out serious welfare issues that had to be corrected immediately and major improvements to facilities that had to be effected over the next three months, according to the warning. Smit said the SPCA had control over all aspects of animal care within the country. “It was this attitude which informed the arbitrary ruling regarding euthanasia of displaced primates in the country. “Our facility is the foremost monkey rescue organisation in SA,” he claimed. SPCA’s manager of the Wildlife Protection Unit, Ansley Hay, maintained there were serious animal welfare concerns at the facility. She shot down claims that they are under attack from the SPCA, saying it is merely an attempt to distract from the facts that there were clear contraventions of the Animals Protection Act.