'Backyard vet' gets warning

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is "dismayed" after a court cautioned a man who admitted to illegally performing surgical operations on animals.

The SPCA, which discovered dog testicles and a dog tail in the garbage when it visited home of Jimmy Hawley in Brakpan last year, said that it was unacceptable that an unqualified individual could set himself up and practise procedures on live animals.

"It is horrific and totally unacceptable that any unqualified individual can set himself up and practise procedures on live animals. [We are] dismayed by the outcome," the SPCA said.

Hawley pleased guilty in the Brakpan Magistrates Court on Monday on charges laid against him in terms of the Animals Protection Act.

The charges included keeping the animals in poor conditions on his property and failing to provide medical treatment for animals with injuries.

The SPCA said Hawley was performing surgical operations at his makeshift "clinic".

He also undertook "tail docking" - the removal of a dog's tail which the SPCA firmly believes violates the Animal Protection Act.

This action was also not condoned by the South African Veterinary Council even if carried out by qualified veterinarians.

"An admission of guilt is an acknowledgement that there has been wrong-doing but the magistrate cautioned and discharged him," the SAPCA said.

" With all respect to the magistrate, there has to be accountability. Is a caution enough?"

The organisation pleaded for the recognition of the suffering of animals or the recognition of the seriousness of what had taken place.

"The SPCA Brakpan will continue to monitor the property in question," it said. - (Sapa, February 2011)

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