Durban - A Durban animal rights group has obtained footage of several boys admitting that they kill pets – cats in particular – to feed their hunting pack.
The Phoenix Animal Care and Treatment (Pact) non-profit organisation, which tackles issues of abuse and neglect in Phoenix and surrounding areas, said killing pets for the pot was more pervasive than previously thought.
They obtained the footage following the latest incident in Westham where a cat was attacked by a pack of dogs at the command of a group of boys.
The boys admitted to killing 10 cats in the area. They also described in vivid detail how they would get their dogs to bite the cat, and would sometimes stab it to death, boil it and feed it to the pack.
“There’s not a single week that goes by where we do not find dogs being taken to either feed a person’s family, or to feed his own dogs,” said Neeri Naidoo, one of the organisation’s co-ordinators.
She said many people gave their pets away as payment for odd jobs; if they did not want them any more; or if they could no longer afford to take care of them.
“There’s this myth that they’ll be taken to some ‘farm’ somewhere and live out their days there. That doesn’t happen.”
The most recent incident took place on Friday night when a cat named Sweety was attacked by a pack of dogs, at the command of a group of boys aged 10 to 12.
The cat’s owner, who did not want to be identified for fear of being targeted again, said she had heard “a commotion” outside and went to investigate.
“It was around 6pm and I saw six large dogs on my veranda. I began worrying about my three cats and began calling for them.”
She said that she could hear several “clicks and whistles”.
“I heard someone saying: ‘Go, go.’”
She saw the dogs running, followed by the group of boys.
“I could just see bodies rolling in the front yard. I could see the body of my white cat and the dark ones of the dogs.
“I was hysterical but I didn’t know what to do.”
She said the boys returned to the area on Sunday.
“I recognised them so we (she and a few neighbours) decided to approach them and talk to them.”
It was then that the boys admitted to the stunned women that they regularly hunted cats to feed their pack of dogs.
The account was video-recorded and presented to police, who allegedly said that it would be inadmissible as evidence in court because the children had not been advised of their rights.
Sweety was found on Tuesday with a gaping wound in its side and is being treated for its injuries.
Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed that the incident had been reported.
“A group of people with dogs were allegedly chasing and throwing stones at a cat in Westham Drive, Phoenix. The motive of the incident is unknown at this stage. Phoenix police are investigating a case of contravening the Animals Protection Act and no arrest has been made at this stage,” he said.
When asked to comment on the contents of the “confession”, he added: “We cannot comment further at this early stage of the investigation.
“Once that matter is investigated the case will be taken to court.”
Another resident of the Clayfield area said three of her cats had been killed by the pack of dogs.
“The first, a male, was killed a year ago, the second about eight months ago and the most recent one, named Stoempie, was killed on Tuesday morning.”
When asked if she had laid a complaint at the police station, she said that she did not “see the point”.
“We have incidents in the area involving people, and the police don’t even come out, so why waste my time?”
She said the pack of dogs had ripped the cat to shreds.
“We couldn’t do anything. The dogs were so vicious.”