Cape Town -111212. Helen Walne with her newly adopted dog, who was alledgedly buried alive by two school janitors. Her new name is Suitcase. Reporter:Janis Kinnear. Jason Boud

Cape Town - A dog in Port Elizabeth was rescued after being beaten, stabbed and buried alive, but died later of its injuries.

The ordeal was similar to that for which three Cape Town men go on trial on Thursday on animal cruelty charges.

Two janitors at Luhlaza Secondary in Khayelitsha, Polo Elliot Mfengu and Mkhumbuzi Ncedana, both 59, are accused of burying a stray dog alive in the school grounds in October. The principal, Manono Makhapela, 44, will be with them in the dock.

The dog, Warrior, has recovered.

“When she was rescued she was partially paralysed. Her back was broken in two places. Now she’s recovered completely,” said Helen Walne, Warrior’s new owner.

But there was no such happy ending for an unnamed dog in Port Elizabeth.

“He was too injured, too traumatised. We transferred him to a better veterinary facility in Walmer Park where everything was done to save his life, but he died quietly on Monday night,” said Linda-Louise Swain of the Animal Anti-Cruelty League.

League fieldworker Patsy Wagner had been sent to the scene where a whimpering snout was sticking out of a shallow grave outside a shack in the Missionvale informal settlement. A passer-by had alerted authorities.

By the time Wagner started digging, the dog’s owner, who lived in the adjacent shack, had fled.

Neighbours say the dog had been beaten, stabbed and buried alive after he tried to steal food from his master’s kitchen table.

“If you saw how malnourished that little body was, you wouldn’t be surprised that the poor thing tried to pinch a piece of meat,” said Swain.

The owner was not at home when Wagner and police arrived on Tuesday, but they plan to return at night.

Jane Levinson, project co-ordinator at Mdzananda Animal Welfare Clinic in Khayelitsha, said rescuers needed to apply pressure “to secure an arrest, a prosecution and a conviction”.

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Cape Argus