Cape Town - It’s been more than three weeks since police seized 26 dogs which Angolan national Edir Fernandes bought in Cape Town, and he still has no idea where they are, or even if they are still alive.
While his attorney, Mushtak Parker, wrote to police more than a week ago to demand that the dogs be returned, he still hasn’t received any feedback.
And Parker says time is of the essence because the Angolan permit Fernandes obtained to allow him to take the dogs into that country expires on Monday.
It all started in August when Fernandes arrived in South Africa, travelling to Cape Town to buy dogs to sell in his home country.
When Weekend Argus interviewed him a week ago, he denied he was involved in illegal dog smuggling, saying he had the paperwork to prove his business was legitimate.
But more than two months later he found himself at the centre of a police investigation into dog smuggling syndicates, after police arrested him and held him for six hours.
His passport was seized – a move which prompted him to lodge a Western Cape High Court application.
The passport has since been returned to him, and he is in the process of having his visa renewed at the Department of Home Affairs.
But the dogs, which include German shepherds, rottweilers, boerbuls, huskies, Jack Russells and boxers, have still not been returned.
On November 8, Parker wrote to task team member Captain William Dreyer to ask where the dogs were, and under what authority they were being held.
In addition, he demanded that the dogs be returned by close of business the following day.
Parker said on Saturday he had not received any feedback or an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter.
Fernandes had now run out of money, having spent R175 000 on the dogs, their medication, vet costs and the paperwork necessary to transport them to Angola, and could not afford to lodge a new court application.
Parker added that while Fernandes had been receiving support from the consul general of Angola in Cape Town, a meeting with him on Saturday did not yield any results because he could not provide financial assistance to Fernandes to enable him to take the matter to court.
When Weekend Argus contacted Dreyer on Saturday, he refused to comment, saying that Fernandes had threatened court action.
“It’s for the courts to decide,” he said.