The 16 men caught allegedly poaching with their 28 greyhound dogs at Curry’s Post at the weekend have been released from custody and have reclaimed their hounds from the uMngeni SPCA.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said the men, who were expected to appear at the Howick Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, were released due to insufficient evidence.
“The matter was not enrolled at court due to insufficient evidence. Once our investigation is completed the docket will be taken to court. The Stock Theft Unit is investigating the case,” he said.
The men were caught in the Karkloof and Curry’s Post area by locals and Magma Investigations and Security.
uMngeni SPCA director Dudu Abraham told The Witness on Monday that the dogs were healthy and seemed to have been trained as they obeyed.
A group of over 30 people gathered outside the SPCA gates as the dogs were returned to their owners one at a time.
One of the 16 men, Phumlani Khumalo, said he was pleased to have his dogs back.
“I am so happy to have them back. I would rather be in jail than have my dogs in the kennels,” he said.
Khumalo said his dogs came from Australia, Russia and Ireland.
He said he had bought some of his dogs from a man in Port Edward and from another Afrikaans man in Harrismith.
He said the dogs were used for racing and that they took care of them like their children.
“We were not hunting any animals when we were found. We were walking our dogs. They need exercise.”
Another dog owner, Lungani Magwaza, said he missed his dogs and was glad to have them back. “I am so used to them greeting me in the morning when I wake up,” he said.
“These last two days without them has felt like there was a void that could not be filled.”
Magwaza said most of the group arrested were from Durban and around the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands area while two members of the group are from Madadeni in Newcastle.