Three people have appeared in court over charges related to animal cruelty after two dogs were found hanging from trees, their necks cruelly constricted by tight wire nooses near Stellenbosch.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said the suspects, aged between 26 and 56, were arrested and appeared in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The Cape of Good Hope SPCA and the Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch (AWSS) have welcomed the arrests. The incident was reported to the AWSS last Tuesday following the discovery of two dogs found hanged near Bottelary Road en route to Stellenbosch.
According to an independent eyewitness account, two men were seen leaving their parked vehicle, crossing the road with the two dogs, entering the nearby bushes and returning without them, the SPCA said.
In response to questions about the dogs’ whereabouts by the eyewitness, one of the men allegedly admitted to killing them.
The eyewitness, whose name is withheld for fear of victimisation, recalled feeling unsafe and shocked.
The SPCA said she immediately left and alerted authorities.
Another eyewitness, equally traumatised by the gruesome discovery, attested in a sworn affidavit: “What I saw was the most cruel and heartbreaking scene that I have ever seen in my life.
I found both dogs hanging in the trees, with wire wound tightly around their necks. I touched both bodies to see if they were still alive, but they were already dead. Both their bodies were still warm to my touch, which I believe indicates that the dogs did not die too long before my arrival.”
In response to the incident, AWSS reached out to the SPCA for collaboration in conducting an investigation and pursuing criminal charges.
AWS Stellenbosch general manager Jessica Perrins said: “The Cape of Good Hope Inspectorate conducts thousands of animal cruelty investigations annually. We wanted to ensure the best possible chance of a guilty verdict and the harshest possible sentence in this matter and we thank the SPCA for lending their valuable experience to this investigation.”
After tracing the identities of the two suspects, inspectors from both the SPCA and AWSS accompanied by the City of Cape Town Law Enforcement; Animal Control Unit, visited the property of the individuals suspected for the animal cruelty.
“Shockingly, the owner of the dogs, a 46-year-old woman, admitted to instructing her husband and son to kill their family pets, alleging that the dogs were ill.
“Her son also confirmed his involvement in the events, and both provided sworn affidavits detailing their actions. The mother and son showed no remorse or regret for their heinous actions.
“They readily agreed to surrender their remaining dog which was discovered by the team on the property during their investigation. The dog has been taken into the care of the SPCA,” the SPCA said.