The 28 greyhound dogs taken away from alleged poachers at the weekend will be kept at the uMngeni SPCA until the owners reclaim them.
Operations manager of the animal welfare organisation, Dudu Abraham, said on Monday that the dogs can’t be rehomed just yet.
“These dogs will stay with us. They don’t have a home. It is our responsibility to take care of them,” said Abraham.
The 16 men who were allegedly hunting with the dogs have been in custody since Sunday. They are expected to appear in the Howick Magistrate’s Court today. They were caught in the Karkloof and Curry’s Post area by residents and their security company, Magma Investigations and Security.
Abraham said that dogs were “beautiful” and healthy.
“When you speak to them in a harsh tone, they listen. That’s the way they were trained. We are waiting to see what happens in court,” she added.
Abraham said the dogs were valuable and a greyhound pup could sell for up to R10 000. They are not “your ordinary dogs”. She added that they could be trained easily.
She said they were kept in nine kennels, which was becoming problematic because the SPCA now has no space to keep other animals and was using its clinic.
The dogs were not sterilised, she said.
A farmer who was present when the men were arrested, William Saunderson-Meyer, said that wildlife in the area, which is part of the Midlands Meander tourist destination, has been severely depleted by hunting in recent months.
Because it happens quickly, the hunters are usually not arrested.
“There is a perception, I think, that this is a low risk crime. The SAPS is already stretched dealing with violence against humans. The destruction of the wildlife that makes the Karkloof the unique nature destination that it is, is a comparatively low priority,” he said.
He said the weekend’s arrests were important. “The gang was stopped in its tracks before wreaking havoc by locals reacting quickly. We’re also fortunate in having the anti-poaching expertise of Magma to deploy.”