Community called to join the fight against animal abuse

2019-06-12 06:01
photo:UPPLIEDThe dog chained to the roof rafters at a Atteridgeville property was finally rescued.

photo:UPPLIEDThe dog chained to the roof rafters at a Atteridgeville property was finally rescued.

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ANIMAL cruelty is a punishable offence but some cases of animal cruelty remain merely rumours due to a lack of evidence to prosecute the suspects.

This is according to the Animal Anti-Cruelty League (AACL), who responded to the rumours circulating in Umvoti about people abusing animals and keeping dogs for the purposes of dogfighting.

The Greytown Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals confirmed last week that there were rumours about animal cruelty in the area. In April this year, a cat was found in a closed box on the Kranskop Road near the Dundee turnoff.

Chairperson of the Greytown SPCA, Sylvan Havemann, told the Gazette: “It’s just rumours. We hear that there are people abusing animals in the area. We urge the residents to report any animal cruelty incidents to us.”

According to reports, the dogs are being used for dogfighting.

Animal Anti-Cruelty League general manager David Rogers said the sad reality about dogfighting is that it remains mainly rumours because it is so hard to gather enough evidence to prosecute perpetrators.

“People involved in these activities keep things very secretive precisely because they know how illegal it is.

“In terms of the Animal Protection Act No 71 of 1962, it is illegal for people to keep dogs (or other animals) for the purpose of dogfighting. Note that this includes people who own, train or control such dogs; people who bait or incite such fighting (e.g. fight promoters or handlers); people who promote dogfighting for amusement or financial gain; people who allow such activity to take place on their premises or on other premises over which they have control; and any people who watch such fights as spectators or gamblers. In terms of Clause 2A of the Act, any person found guilty of any of these offences will be liable to a fine or imprisonment,” Rogers said.

He added that his organisation hasn’t had any cases reported of dogfighting in KZN but he noted: “I think the national body may have handled some cases in this regard. I have no doubt whatsoever that it is happening in KZN, but we just cannot get people to assist us in bringing it to an end.

“We do offer education on preventing animal cruelty. This is done in a variety of ways.

“Our primary ‘teaching’ activity is via presentations to young children, either at their schools or at our own premises when they come on outings here — this includes teaching children about animal rights, handling and care of animals, and prevention of cruelty to animals.

“We also do everything possible to educate adults on a one-to-one basis during our sterilisation campaigns, in which we go into townships and rural communities to encourage and assist animal owners to sterilise their animals, with a view to reduce uncontrolled breeding, improving animal health and living conditions, and teaching people about animal welfare and preventing abuse,” Rogers said.

In a recent conviction, Atteridgeville Magistrate’s court sentenced six suspects found guilty for their part in dogfighting and animal cruelty offences.

According to a report from the National Council of SPCAs, during this year alone, 12 suspects have been sentenced to prison time ranging from 12 months to five years for participation in dogfighting-related activities.

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