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Puppy rescued from ‘violent owner’

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Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse with the rescued puppy called Walter. PHOTO: spca
Chief Inspector Jaco Pieterse with the rescued puppy called Walter. PHOTO: spca

A senior official from the Cape of Good Hope SPCA who came under attack while trying to save a black Labrador puppy from being exploited by its owner says his only concern at the time was the safety of the animal.

Jaco Pieterse, Chief Inspector at Cape of Good Hope SPCA, received a complaint of a man begging with a puppy in Sea Point Main Road on Friday 9 February. Pieterse recognised the man via a WhatsApp photo as a serial offender.

Belinda Abraham, spokesperson for the SPCA, says: “The SPCA has dealt with reports involving this individual and his exploitation of animals for financial gain on many occasions, and has in the past removed animals from his care.”

Attempts to track down the suspect, who usually stands on the corner of Buitengracht Street and Walter Sisulu Avenue in the City Bowl, were unsuccessful on Friday, but the officer remained on high alert.

On Sunday 6 February, Pieterse, accompanied by Rob Quintas, Mayco member for Urban Mobility, returned from a trip to Khayelitsha when they spotted the perpetrator at his usual spot.

Abraham says: “The Pitbull puppy he had been photographed with on Friday evening had already been replaced with his latest victim, a black Labrador X breed was now firmly in his clutches.”

Pieterse says he approached the man and tried to remove the puppy, but the suspect became violent and attacked both him and Quintas.

According to Pieterse the suspect tried to strangle the puppy and assaulted Quintas. The inspector says he had his hands full trying to defend both the animal and Quintas.

Abraham says a law enforcement officer witnessed the altercation and intervened.

The suspect was arrested and detained at Cape Town Central Police Station.

Capt Ezra October, corporate communication officer at Cape Town Central Police Station, says the 33-year-old man was arrested under the Animal Cruelty Act as well as for common assault, after he allegedly assaulted the official for taking his dogs from him.

“He appeared at the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 8 February on the charges and was released on a warning.”

Pieterse says rescuing the puppy was his only concern.

“The puppy was my only concern; I am able to defend myself, but animals have to rely on the SPCA to defend them. There is no way I could give up on that puppy or any animal that needs my or the SPCA’s help.”

Quintas describes the ordeal as “surreal”.

“It was a surreal experience, having left the house in the hope of rescuing other animals, and then finding myself in between a scuffle, and being assaulted, by a repeat offender who uses puppies as begging props, in the middle of one of Cape Town’s busiest intersections.

“I was not prepared under any circumstances to let the puppy go, and I have no remorse for having received a few punches and elbow blows in the process.

Quintas praised all involved that led to the arrest of the suspect.

“I can only commend the thorough commitment to duty by Chief Inspector Pieterse, as well as City Traffic and City Improvement District peace officers who intervened and assisted in the arrest and transport of the suspect to the Cape Town Central Police Station.”

Abraham urged people not to support the exploitation of animals or to purchase any puppies or kittens from illegal hawking on the side of the road.

“It is an offence in terms of the Animal Keeping Bylaw to make use of an animal for begging and financial gain or to sell any animal in a public road or public space. This is only fuelling this illegal trade and the animals are subjected to immense cruelty and suffering.”

Pieterse adds: “Please don’t be emotionally blackmailed by these individuals, rather phone the SPCA and law enforcement so that we can take the appropriate action.”

According to Pieterse, the puppy, who has since been named Walter, is recovering well and will soon be available for adoption.

“Walter is a loveable bundle of fur, he is healing well in our care and we hope we can place him in a loving home where he will never be exploited for financial gain again,” concludes Pieterse.

  • To adopt Walter or any other animal call 021 700 4152 or email adoptions@spca-ct.co.za

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