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Family wants answers

A Bonteheuwel family wants to know if police officers are above the law following the death of their two-year-old dog, Skyler who was shot during a police raid.

Ashley Adams says he cannot understand why police are shooting animals when there are bigger issues in the community which need attention.

Skyler was shot when the Anti-Gang unit and other police officers stormed into their home on Sunday 12 January.

It’s alleged that a gang-related shooting took place in Bonteheuwel Avenue at around 11:00.

An hour later there was a police raid.

“These officers want to shoot at innocent dogs and not gangsters. I don’t understand why they came and shot at my dog who never did anything to them.”

According to reports, Adams’s dogs attacked police during the search, but he denied these claims as he said the family’s three dogs were on a leash. “One dog is a pavement special, the other a Rottweiler and then Skyler who was a mix-breed Rottweiler. They never did anything to the police officers. I still want to know why they shot at my dogs?”

While speaking to TygerBurger at their home, his wife, Nicole, explained the events which led up to the shooting.

“The police’s Anti-Gang unit stormed into my mother in-law’s home and then came into our house which is at the back of the main house. They said they were looking for firearms and I told them they can go ahead and search the house. 

“They were speaking to Ashley while searching the house, then two officers started arguing with my brother in front at the main house. The police officers told my brother to free the three dogs because they were on their leashes, but my brother said no. We couldn’t understand why they wanted us to free the dogs. The two officers took out their firearms and shot at the dogs,” says Nicole.

Ashley says the Rottweiler, Coco, was first shot with a rubber bullet, followed by Skyler. “Before Skyler was shot, she tried to escape by jumping over a small wall which leads into our neighbour’s backyard. I’m not sure if it was a live round or a rubber bullet that was shot at Skyler because we saw how the bullet pierced her flesh. 

“Coco has a wound which we are assessing and treating.”

Nicole says it was such a shock witnessing their dogs being shot. “When police left, they never even helped us or anything. Shooting at our dogs was just heartless. We took Skyler to Grassy Park SPCA to have her checked out. On Wednesday morning, the SPCA called us to inform us that Skyler had died. My family is devastated.

“Ashley tried to lay a complaint with the Bishop Lavis police, but he was told that he first needed to appoint a lawyer. Why? I don’t know,” Nicole says with much frustration.

Spokesperson of the Cape of Good Hope SPCA, Belinda Abraham condemned the incident.

“Skyler was admitted to the SPCA for treatment shortly after the shooting but sadly passed away on Wednesday 16 January as a result of massive internal bleeding and complications arising from her wounds. The family is pursuing a case against those involved in the shooting in their personal capacity.

“The SPCA is saddened by this incident, particularly as the offender holds a position requiring of him to uphold the law. When those in positions of authority choose to display disregard for the law, they set a very poor example for those who view them with respect to follow. We will avail ourselves should the family require our guidance and support in respect of the compilation of the docket for submission to the police and we extend our condolences to the family on the loss of their pet,” says Abraham.

She adds: “We welcome the reporting of cruelty to animals regardless of the status or office of the offender as nobody is above the law. Contraventions of Section 2 of the Animals Protection Act could see a maximum of 12 months imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of R40 000 imposed on guilty parties by a presiding magistrate. Sentencing would also result in a criminal record and a magistrate may also deny an offender owner of a specific animal or animals in general for a specified period of time.” 

The provincial police’s Siyabulelo Malo confirms that officers conducted a search after a shooting incident in the area.

“Kindly be advised that the officers conducted a search in a house in Bonteheuwel Avenue after alleged shootings occurred in the area on Sunday 12 January. The dog attacked the police members immediately after they entered the premises. The complainant is advised to come forward and furnish a statement to police.”

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