Benjamin: Hero of the helpless

2016-04-14 06:00
: TOP: With the help of community members, Humansdorp SPCA Inspector Benjamin Sithole, managed to rescue a cow that has fallen into a septic tank in Kruisfontein.   PHoto: SUPPLIED

: TOP: With the help of community members, Humansdorp SPCA Inspector Benjamin Sithole, managed to rescue a cow that has fallen into a septic tank in Kruisfontein. PHoto: SUPPLIED

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HE became a hero overnight after rescuing a distressed cow that was trapped in a septic tank for several hours - all while her little calf was desperately calling for his mother.

An urgent plea for someone to assist the Humansdorp SPCA to rescue the cow from the deep hole in Kruisfontein on April 4, spread like wildfire. Within minutes the post was shared by 47 Facebook-users and read by almost 6 000 people - all trying to find help.

Completely unaware of this commotion, SPCA Inspector Benjamin Sithole (41) gathered the help of the community within minutes and after digging a trench and gradually piling in sand and grass into the hole, the tired cow finally managed to walk out - much to the relief of the community and her calf.

The whole operation took over an hour.

For Sithole, who joined the Humansdorp SPCA this year, it is a no-brainer to go beyond and above the call of duty to protect the defenceless animals in Kouga.

Even when the going gets tough, Sithole refuses to throw in the towel.

His dream is to educate young people about caring for animals. According to him, teaching this generation about animal care is more immediately effective than rehabilitating older minds about the importance of taking care of animals.

“While it is important to reform old habits through speaking, teaching and motivating older people, there is no greater satisfaction than teaching young people, as they represent the future and are receptive to new information - more than old people who are set in their ways,” says Sithole.

On these educational outreaches, they also dip and vaccinate the animals.

According to Sithole, who first joined the SPCA 14 years ago as a kennel cleaner and was promoted to inspector after six years, working at the SPCA is a calling. He grew up in a rural area with cows and seven dogs, and now has a cat and two dogs of his own. “You must have a love and passion for animals. It is not a high-paying job and you often witness immense cruelty, but knowing you are helping to make a difference is extremely rewarding. When you go to bed and night, it gives you peace of mind,” says Sithole.

His vision is to educate and change people’s attitudes towards animals by teaching the young how wrong it is to be cruel to those without a voice.

“With this type of job, you are confronted with horrible things almost on a daily basis. Just the other week we had to put a cow down that was stabbed in the chest and had a broken bone. It was just lying on an open piece of land - struggling to breathe as its one lung was punctured.

Then there are a lot of dogs in the informal settlements that are tied up with heavy and short chains cutting into their flesh. These chains are so heavy that the dogs can hardly move. Some are even locked with a huge lock, apparently to prevent people from stealing the specific dog.” Sithole says all the dogs they rescue and are able to save, are put up for adoption. “These animals are like children. They too need to be taken care of and be loved.”

For more information, or to report animal cruelty or animals in di-stress, contact Sithole at 083 607 6814.

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