Dog buried alive, survives

By Michelle Jones Time of article published Oct 21, 2011

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A dog, found buried alive in a Khayelitsha school sportsfield, has been named Warrior by her rescuers.

In what has been dubbed “one of the worst reported cases of animal abuse in Cape Town yet”, the dog was rescued on Thursday morning after it was found buried alive in a pit at Luhlaza Secondary School.

Two suspects were arrested by police late Thursday afternoon.

Photographs show the dog being dug out of the pit, its small, sand-covered face peering at its rescuers.

Christine Pretorius, spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, told the Cape Times the dog had recovered well from the ordeal.

“The dog’s fine. It’s in good condition. It’s eating ravenously now. The dog is slightly disabled, probably as a result of earlier injuries from a motor vehicle accident. It is limping quite badly. It’s got a lot of sand in its eyes and they’ll continue to flush it out.”

She said the Mdzananda Animal Clinic in Khayelitsha had received an anonymous tip-off at 8.30am to say that janitors at the Luhlaza Secondary School had allegedly been spotted digging a hole on the perimeter of the sportsfield and burying a live dog in it.

“Veterinarian Dr Edson Man’Ombe and Animal Welfare carer Lazola Sotyingwa immediately rushed to the school and apprehended two janitors on the school field. The men initially claimed the dog was dead, but on further questioning admitted the animal was still alive when they buried it,” Pretorius said.

“They said one of the school’s senior supervisors had told them to get rid of the dog as it was being a nuisance by hanging around the classrooms.”

Man’Ombe and Sotyingwa then instructed the men to open the pit and the dog, a crossbreed, was found barely alive at the bottom of a hole between one and 1.5m deep.

It was rushed to the Mdzananda Animal Clinic and the care of professional veterinarians. Pretorius said the names of the janitors, and the supervisor who allegedly told them to dispose of the dog, were known to the clinic and a criminal complaint had been lodged at the Lingelethu Police Station in Khayelitsha.

Police arrested two 59-year-old men yesterday, spokesman Frederick van Wyk said.

The two would appear in court after they had been charged.

“The incident was reported this morning and a case of Animal Protection Act Torturing or animal cruelty was opened for investigation.”

Bronagh Casey, spokeswoman for Education MEC Donald Grant, said: “We are horrified by this incident and our district office is investigating.”

Jane Levinson, clinic co-ordinator at Mdzananda, said the incident showed there was a need for more animal welfare support and humane education initiatives in townships and schools.

“This story is tragic and, as awful as this story is, without access to animal welfare these are the kinds of desperate measures people resort to when they have nowhere to turn for help,” Levinson said. “None of this excuses the decision of a senior, and presumably educated and intelligent supervisor, to instruct his juniors to dispose of a problem dog in such a cruel fashion.

“We can only hope that none of the pupils at the school were exposed to this horrific event.” - Cape Times

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