Animal cruelty cases on the increase
Share this article:
Cape Town - There has been a rapid increase in animal cruelty cases across the Cape.
This is as the Animal Welfare Society (AWS) of South Africa said they have, over the past three years, investigated an average of 249 animal cruelty cases a month.
Spokesperson for the AWS Allan Perrins said almost all of these cases were from the Cape Flats, and more than 95% of these incidents involved cats and dogs.
“There has been a marked increase in animal stabbings. Another concern is the increase in animal abandonment. One of the cases we are dealing with now, and working closely with officials, is the Manenberg cat killer,” said Perrins.
Some of the worst cases the AWS has seen include dogs with chains embedded in their necks, grossly emaciated cats and dogs, gunshot victims, and stabbed animals. The most recent being a timid Saanen Nanny goat, stabbed five times in the chest and abdomen, before being tethered to a tree trunk and left to die. The AWS also reported sick and injured pets abandoned on garbage heaps, left to suffer and die, and dogs even being buried alive.
Spokesperson for the Cape of Good Hope SPCA Belinda Abraham said their inspectorate control room fielded more than 350 calls per day, amounting to more than 85 000 calls for the year, excluding weekends.
“A total of 105 court cases are pending. About 63 of the 105 cases were brought forward from the previous year, waiting for the judicial system to process them. Some 42 new court cases of animal cruelty were initiated in the 2020 fiscal year, of which five were successfully concluded with convictions.
“The SPCA sometimes faces difficulty in building a case that can withstand the tests of the court. We often receive reports of cruelty after the fact, with no way to secure the evidence or identify the perpetrators, and no leads with which to begin an investigation. Often, witnesses are too afraid to testify in court and a case cannot always proceed without an eyewitness testimony. We do, however, have witnesses to violent crimes against animals. The SPCA will always do everything in our power to protect the identity of the person making a cruelty report, and reports can be made anonymously. Without an eyewitness testimony, the remaining evidence needs to be extremely solid in order to secure a conviction. It can be a frustrating and heartbreaking process, but we remain encouraged by the seriousness with which our judicial system handles crimes against animals,” said Abraham.
Clinical psychologist David Rosenstein said often harming an animal is an indication of an antisocial or psychopathic personality.
“Harm to a domestic animal, like a dog or cat, is indicative of callousness, and shows difficulty empathising with others or another person. A person who abuses animals has a higher potential of harming a human. But this is difficult. People who do harm other people – and who gain pleasure doing so – most of these individuals have practised on animals beforehand. They may have harmed animals at a young age, which is known conduct disorder,” said Rosenstein.