SA animal activists held in Angola

2012-08-23 16:52

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.

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  • shane.jacoby.3 - 2012-08-23 17:04

    "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." So how does this then constitute SMUGGLING? Not that I support the notion, but it's pretty damned stupid to storm into another country and take on the authorities over a transaction which apparently has all the required documentation in place...

      santellegeldenhuys - 2012-08-23 17:13

      They did not have the necessary papers!!

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-23 17:15

      Unless the documentation was obtained fraudulently, I have to agree with you ThinkB4speak. And surely if they were smuggled in and the smuggling ring had been bust, surely there are legal ways of getting the dogs back. PS - Dog fighters should be shot on sight.

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-23 17:24

      Santelle - Apparently they did. Read the quote again.

      Adil Smit - 2012-08-23 17:37

      Read article earlier today " Hunt for owners of stolen dogs"

      Adil Smit - 2012-08-23 17:42

      Rhino poachers have access to scheduled drugs that can be only used by vets - so sometimes things that should theoretically be impossible, happens. Another bakkie-load of dogs were stopped at Upington a few months ago - this is very worrying. Personally I think vets should be suspicious if someone applies for so many dogs to be taken across the border. And the police must check if these documents not falsified - like many passports in circulation.

      sylvia.deklerk - 2012-08-23 23:56

      Do you actually believe these paper were real, what planet do you live's all fraudulent, the dogs are stolen!!!

      vaughan.greene - 2012-08-24 08:10

      HELLO the dogs were stolen from people in South Africa

      klaastammy.havenga - 2012-08-24 10:46

      What if you didn't think b4 you spoke> What if they were right and the permits invalid and they didn't have the necessary papers? What if these dogs die because you did nothing? What if it was smuggling? What if the legal ways are not working? Please guys - my dog is out there and WHAT IF he will never come home? To many what ifs? PLEASE DO whatever you can and stop worrying about what if? They don't. X

      carolyn.naude - 2012-08-24 12:53

      Please obtain the CORRECT STORY & FACTS before commenting and making such a stupid statement... The papers/certificates were fabricated plus the animals were stolen!!! That constitutes "smuggling".

  • estee.booysen.9 - 2012-08-23 17:25

    Praying those poor dogs will be returned to their families and those monsters fighting the dogs gets what's coming to them.

  • estee.booysen.9 - 2012-08-23 17:25

    Praying those poor dogs will be returned to their families and those monsters fighting the dogs gets what's coming to them.

  • Adil Smit - 2012-08-23 17:34

    As the ANC Women's League poster said at a rhino poacher's bail hearing : "REAL MEN ARE KIND TO ANIMALS"

  • steveroodt - 2012-08-23 17:38

    Another corrupt Official in another corrupt Department now i can say the whole Barrel is Rotten. Noah had a tip to build a Ark when times were like this. Is that Time now.

  • paul.lastrucci - 2012-08-23 18:07

    'The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the ways its animals are treated ~ Mahatma Gandhi' Required documents in place yeah right!!

      Adil Smit - 2012-08-23 20:16


  • geyserfrankenberg - 2012-08-23 19:36

    Word is out that the people are out and safe

  • cherylanne.squires.33 - 2012-08-23 19:57

    The border officials are all corrupt. Money is speaking. How on earth did the vehicles that they were travelling in and the trailer with the 38 dogs cramped inside off it, PASS over the borders??? How is it that these so-called law abiding border officials, not check?? Dogs’ lives are at stake, a family is in danger because they saw these dogs that passed over the border, which CORRUPTED police officials allowed over. How come the dogs may not be fed? Who is this wonderful glorified corrupted state vet that so proudly present certificates?? When dogs are not fed and given water it is ANIMAL CRUELTY, how come the NSPCA/SPCA’s did not intervene? Too many questions and ZERO answers. As an Animal Rights Activist we demand answers. This has being going on for too long!!

  • marchell.vermaak - 2012-08-23 20:31

    Angola Was amazing! they were helpful, respectful and they toke care of us and the dogs, they gave us food drink and let us sit in a cooled room for own protection ! Angola is a amazing police force they did not harm us they protected us its the dog dealers that tried to harm us guys. The dogs are safe and will be having medical attention tomorrow.

      Adil Smit - 2012-08-23 20:47

      Glad you guys are ok! Will the dogs be brought back to South Africa?

      tegethoffalfheim1 - 2012-08-23 23:47

      I am glad that you are all ok and the dogs as well. Did all the dogs make it? What about the truck with 38 dogs and the dogs in the Bakkie with the Rasta????Hope all are okey and will be returned, Please say yes, then I know everyone's prayers have been answered.....

  • tegethoffalfheim1 - 2012-08-24 00:12

    The border officials must be corrupt They where aware of the fact that South African Police was on their way and that Interpol was going to look into the matter. They should have waited and if all failed they should have brought the matter to the attention of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for guidance. A policeman surely has an instinct when foul play is involved. Specifically when you have been warned that these dogs were stolen. I hope dearly the Namibian Government investigates this issue and sees to it that ALL the dogs get returned and that this never ever happens again......

  • PAWS.Plett - 2012-08-24 10:23

    It is wonderful to see how so many people have rallied together to support these animals. I hope it leads to tighter controls so that our animals are protected. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU WHO ARE ASSISTING!

  • santa.lourens - 2012-08-24 10:30

    "Why didn't you rather exposed the REAL SMUGGLERS names and photos. We just want our beloved stolen dogs back in SA and we do it LEGAL."

  • klaastammy.havenga - 2012-08-24 10:45

    What if you didn't think b4 you spoke? What if they were right and the permits invalid? What if these dogs die because you did nothing? What if it was smuggling? What if the legal ways dont work? Please guys - my dog is out there and what if he will never come home? Too many what ifs? PLEASE DO whatever you can and don't worry about WHAT IF? They don't.X

      carolyn.naude - 2012-08-24 12:58

      I pray that klaastammy.havenga dog is returned to them safely, God Bless our prayers and with you and your furry friend :))

  • jettybe - 2012-08-24 11:25

    I think we need to focus on the real priorities here: the safety and well-being of these dogs as well as any others which may suffer the same fate in the future. We need to do whatever is necessary to save as many dogs as we can and reunite them with the owners / find new homes and then look at a proper investigation into these activities and doing what is necesary to prevent similar incients from ever hapennening again! These are the issues at stake.

  • carol.vanniekerk.3 - 2012-08-24 11:46

    "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." Why is nothing being done to this alleged State Veterinarian who's done the certification???? Surely he forms part of this sindicate?

  • michellemdutoit - 2012-08-24 21:51

    There is a serious rescue mission afoot to fetch the dogs and bring the back to SA. Wll need to be transported, quarantined etc which all takes money. And time and effort from volunteers. If anyone is able to assist with blankets, kennels, transport etc please email Ditto with offers of financial assistance.

  • marlene.hugo65 - 2012-09-10 01:21

    They are back safely.. Was so worth all the sleepless nights... Now to prevent this from happening again..!!!

  • marlene.hugo65 - 2013-01-29 00:38

    Sadly this is still happening.. So many animals lost across the border. When will something be done about it by Goverment!!??

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