Johannesburg - A slap-on-the-wrist sentence for a dog rapist has left an Alexandra family feeling there is no choice but to apply for a protection order to prevent him coming near their neighbourhood’s pets and children.
Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) and the SPCA, who assisted in handling the case, are hoping the order could apply to the abused animal and others.
On October 15, Fanroi Mochachi, 45, was caught raping eight-month-old Blackie, a cross-breed female, in the yard he shared with the dog’s owners in Alexandra.
The child owner and his uncle heard the dog howling, went to investigate and discovered Mochachi in the act. They turned him over to the police.
Just days later, the man was taken to the Alexandra Regional Court, where he pleaded guilty to charges of bestiality in terms of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act 32 of 2007.
The father-of-six was put to shame by magistrate Syta Pretorius, who insisted that the offence to which he had admitted was “serious, unnatural and barbaric”.
“Worse still is that you are married and a role model to your six children, and upsetting is that you will be expected to engage sexually with your wife,” she told Mochachi.
She concluded by saying that Mochachi’s actions and those of others like him - who have uncontrollable desires to sleep with any female, child or animal - were truly shameful and must be stopped.
However, in a surprisingly lenient decision, Pretorius sentenced Mochachi to a five-year prison sentence, wholly suspended for the next five years.
Effectively, this meant Mochachi was free to return to his home, which has gravely unsettled the family who own Blackie.
According to Sandton SPCA senior investigator Jaco Pieterse, the family had initially wanted to give Blackie to relatives in KwaZulu-Natal to prevent any possible future abuse, but his team had managed to convince them to hand her over to the Sandton branch for re-homing.
“The dog was taken to an independent veterinarian for examination and is now in the safe care of the Sandton SPCA,” said Pieterse.
WMACA had been brought in to counsel the child owner of the dog, and both the NGO and SPCA have said that while they have welcomed Mochachi’s conviction, they are disturbed by the light sentence.
In a joint statement, WMACA and the SPCA said they were wary of Mochachi “roaming the streets unchecked”.
“The Sandton SPCA and WMACA would like to see much harsher sentences regarding the sexual violation of animals who, like children, are completely helpless to stop such violent attacks on them.
"WMACA’s Kidz Clinic Alexandra has seen to the intake for the family of the dog to assist them in coping with the trauma of the recent events,” the statement read.
WMACA’s director, Miranda Jordan, plans to assist Blackie’s owners in securing a protection order for the family and the other neighbourhood animals, with a focus on using Blackie as the basis at court for why it should be granted.
“Sexual predators, regardless of the type of crime, should be monitored. It is a fact that bestiality is a stepping stone to other sex crimes where the victims could be other vulnerable beings, like children or young women,” said Jordan.
According to WMACA, the uncle of the dog’s owner and another close community member will be providing affidavits to join with the protection-order application. This would seek to prevent the offender returning to the property where the incident occurred.
“There are young children and other animals on the same premises, and the residents believe that Mr Mochachi poses a risk,” said Jordan.
She hoped the order could potentially apply to the animals in the area, especially after an increase in the number of cases of animal sexual abuse noted by WMACA’s clinic in Alexandra.
The Sandton SPCA has asked readers of The Star to open their hearts and help find Blackie a new home.
“The Sandton SPCA is now seeking a good home for Blackie where she will not be subjected to such a barbaric act of cruelty. Please contact the Sandton SPCA on 011 444 7730 for more information on the adoption process of Blackie,” said Pieterse.