Pet owner who left dogs in his vehicle for five days in scorching heat convicted and sentenced

The dogs were trapped inside the vehicle for five days. Picture: Bloemfontein SPCA

The dogs were trapped inside the vehicle for five days. Picture: Bloemfontein SPCA

Published Oct 16, 2023


The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Bloemfontein in the Free State has welcomed the conviction and sentencing of a pet owner who left two dogs in a vehicle in the scorching heat.

On October 15, 2021, Inspector Werner Botha responded to a call of two Dachshunds trapped inside a vehicle in Charles Street.

Upon responding to the call, the dogs were found deceased.

According to the SPCA, members of the public informed Inspector Botha the dogs had been trapped inside the vehicle since October 10, 2021, in weather ranging from 30 to 35 degrees.

The dogs were trapped inside the vehicle for five days. Picture: Bloemfontein SPCA

During the clinical evaluation, it was determined the dogs succumbed to severe dehydration and heat stroke.

It is not known why members of the public did not break a car window to rescue the dogs.

“Marco Terblanche left the dogs in his vehicle on the Sunday after he consumed a large amount of alcohol,” the SPCA said.

“He, as a result of his intoxication, could not remember where the vehicle was parked and as a result, the two Dachshunds passed away.”

Animal cruelty charges were filed by Inspector Botha.

“I feel relieved that after all this time justice has finally been served for those two dogs. I vividly remember the paw prints and scratches against the windows as they tried to escape,” Botha said.

“The dogs tried to find shelter out of the 35-degree heat by hiding behind a TV and a portrait to find some relief from the direct sunlight. I can't think of a crueller way to die, than by being trapped in a hot car without food and water with no way to escape. Slowly dying after five days must be terrifying.”

Terblanche was found guilty of five counts of animal cruelty under the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962.

The court further deemed Terblanche unfit to own or be in charge of any animal for the rest of his life.

He was also sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended on the condition that all aspects of the correctional supervision be adhered to.

Terblanche was also sentenced to complete 300+ hours of community service at the SPCA in Bloemfontein.

“This sentence is tremendous, and the Bloemfontein SPCA celebrates the justice that was served to these tortured dachshunds. The Bloemfontein SPCA is further pleased that lifelong denial of ownership of any animal is granted,” the SPCA said.

“The sentencing of life-long denial of ownership is a tremendous victory for Animal welfare legislation in South Africa,” it said.

“The sentence of life-long denial of ownership is often not granted and sets a sentence in place that will further guide the judicial system in sentencing offenders,” the organisation continued.

“The Bloemfontein SPCA is pleased that the community service will be served under its jurisdiction.”

Botha said he feels relieved that justice has finally been served for the dogs.

“I hope that working with the animals in our care shows Marco Terblanche the consequences of his actions and that through hard work his moral character will be improved,” he added.

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