File picture

Cape Town - The deputy mayor of Mthonjaneni local municipality in KwaZulu Natal, Philani Ntombela, might face criminal charges after the national council of SPCAs (NSPCA) on Wednesday said it had laid charges against him and others following an investigation into the killing of a dog in the Melmoth area.

“The National Council of SPCA investigated the matter of the deputy mayor and his bodyguards for the cruel shooting of a dog in the Melmoth area in November 2017 and the findings were more horrific than originally reported,” said the NSPCA in a statement. 

According to NSPCA, a video footage of the incident surfaced on social media, bringing it to the attention of the NSPCA and Eshowe SPCA five days after the dog was shot. The Eshowe SPCA inspector attended to the complaint as soon as he was made aware of the situation and found a dog still alive with multiple gunshot wounds.

NSPCA communications manager Meg Wilson said: "On closer analysis of the video that originally depicted a dog that is tied to a pole being repeatedly shot,  it came to light that four dogs were in fact shot. One dog was shot multiple times, another dog escaped wounded and two puppies were shot. One of the puppies was in the hands of a nine-year-old boy and the shooter took the shot whilst still in the hands of the young boy.

It has been said that the deputy mayor had claimed that the dogs were terrorising locals and attacking livestock in the village. Wilson though said: "A witness stated that there was no proof that these were the dogs that attacked livestock as livestock roam and that it was assumed that it was these dogs, two of which were puppies.

“We are absolutely overcome with devastation for these animals who have been failed by humans. The sheer disregard to their sentience is disturbing and to walk away showing absolutely no shame is unforgivable, in the midst of children, while one of the animals is in the hands of a child, it is inconceivable to think that this was the act of leadership.

“The NSPCA have laid charges against the deputy mayor, the shooters and the owner of the dogs in terms of the Animals Protection Act No 71 of 1962. Furthermore, the South African Police Services are investigating the matter in terms of the Firearms Control Act No 60 of 2000.

“Charges were also laid against the dog owner as he was there when the incident took place and had never reported the matter."

Despite repeated attempts, the deputy mayor could not be reached for comment by the time of publishing.

African News Agency/ANA