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Cruelty curbed

The Virginia SPCA had 19 successful prosecutions against animal abusers in 2018, with fines levied totalling R23 800.

The steepest sentences were R8 000 or three months in jail and R6 000 or three years in jail, suspended for five years.

The first involved the illegal hunting of game, using dogs and bows and arrows. The second was for obstructing an officer of the law in the discharge of his official duties.

SPCA inspector, Ernest Khaukhau, had to attend to an animal related complaint in Virginia. The owners of the property would not allow him access, and verbally abused and manhandled him.

“The conviction was unique and is seen as the first of its kind,” says Khaukhau.

He has also enforced “softer” sentences which involve entering a diversion programme. Here the offender is rehabilitated to own a pet, and look after it.

In 2016 Khaukhau escaped a fatal encounter when he landed in the cross-fire of American bird hunters, while en route to Ventersburg. One of the shotgun pellets narrowly missed his head.

During the course of his duties he is also called to save animals from strange places.

In 2018 he was called to Oryx Gold Mine to rescue a kitten which had fallen down the shaft. The shaft was closed for two hours during the rescue.

In Virginia they had to rescue a serval cat from behind a water tank. Experts were called to use a dart gun to sedate the large cat, before it could be extracted and taken to an accredited rehabilitation centre.

Then there is the story of Miles, the domestic cat who travelled to Johannesburg, and back to Virginia in the engine of a car.

“No-one knew how to extract him. I removed the grill and bumper of the vehicle and rescued Miles,” says Khaukhau.

He is well known and respected and often receives distress calls from other centres in the country.

  • During the past six months, the Welkom SPCA has investigated six cases.

These involve beastiality in Thabong, a dog stabbing in Allanridge, a dog shooting in Bultfontein and a pitbull bite in Welkom. One of the other two cases involved a man cutting puppies’ ears.

“In a particularly vicious case the Welkom police are also investigating a matter involving five children who were sexually molested by their father. The molester had also killed his dog in a horrific manner,” says Maureen Nel, Welkom SPCA chairman.

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