The SPCA has expressed shock over the skinning of a dog in Bloemfontein.
The dog, which was hit by a car on Friday night, was still alive on the road when it was skinned, said the SPCA.
"According to eyewitnesses, a car bumped a dog and drove away. The dog was still alive and lay along the road. The owner of the dog came looking for her dog and then came to a very gruesome scene.
"[The suspect] was busy [skinning] her dog alive. She asked him what he was doing, and [the man's] answer was that he was hungry and wanted fresh meat," said the organisation.
Residents then took the man to the Mangaung police station, where he was arrested and charged with animal cruelty. By the time the SPCA arrived, the dog was dead.
"We were very shocked at what we saw. The dog's body lay aside and then one leg was also laying skinned aside the road. We asked [the suspect] what he was trying to do, and he acknowledged that the dog was still alive when he started his slaughter," said Bloemfontein SPCA senior inspector Reinet Meyer.
According to the SPCA, the man had food in his backpack, including "bread, polony and chicken nuggets".
Police confirmed that he had been charged with animal cruelty, and would appear in court on Monday.
National crime statistics do not specifically highlight cases of animal cruelty, but Meyer praised the police for their support of the SPCA's fight in Bloemfontein.
"They are really supportive, because we put our photographs in the docket and they were shocked by the photographs."
'Where there is animal cruelty, there is also domestic violence'
Meyer said that, while there were a range of animal cruelty cases, the SPCA endeavoured to educate people about their pets, rather than prosecute.
"If it [is] really serious, we prosecute. In the past month, there are three cases where we are going to prosecute people for animal cruelty in Bloemfontein alone," she told News24.
She also linked animal cruelty with domestic violence, saying that inspectors sometimes reported suspected cases of domestic violence to the police.
"Yes, especially with children. If there is animal cruelty, you will also see that children are also being abused. It is a fact that where there is animal cruelty, there is also domestic violence."
According to Regan Jules-Macquet, project manager for Nicro, there is a strong link between animal cruelty and abuse of humans.
"Animal abuse appears in offences such as domestic violence, where pets of the victim can be injured or killed. There is a significant association between domestic violence and animal abuse, to the extent that animal abuse is regarded as an indicator of potential domestic violence in the home. (KL Thompson and E Gullone Promotion of Empathy and Prosocial Behaviour in Children through Human Education (2003) 38(3) Australian Psychologist at 175, as well as Campbell op cit)," Jules-Macquet argues.
"In studies of women at a domestic violence shelter, 71% of women who owned pets reported that the pet had been a target of violence by the abuser."
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