GEORGE NEWS - Animal abuse in our area is rife and on the rise. And although animal welfare centres in George are working themselves to the bone to combat this problem, it is of little deterrent if animal abusers aren't prosecuted.
On 26 July 2016 a severely malnourished and emaciated pit bull bitch, now named Riley, was rescued by Garden Route SPCA manager, Salomé Bruyns, who was then a senior inspector.
A case of animal cruelty was opened by the SPCA and the investigation is now complete.
"We received a call from a member of the public telling us about the dog tied to a chain in New Dawn Park, Pacaltsdorp. She must've somehow escaped as she was walking in the street when I arrived, so I impounded her as a stray. She was severely malnourished and underweight and was scavenging for food. I lured her with a bowl of food - which she devoured within seconds - and left a warning for the owner to contact me. Until today I haven't heard a single word from him," Bruyns told the George Herald.
In her veterinary report Dr Anesca Loots said that other than being extremely thin Riley was healthy and had a good appetite.
Shortly after her rescue she was adopted by the Coetsee family from George where she is still living a very happy life as part of a loving family.
"I saw Riley on a Facebook post made by the SPCA. I've always wanted to rescue a dog and when I saw her I knew she belonged in our family. Even though she looked like a skeleton at the time, we fell in love with her the moment we saw her," says Riley's human mom, Marga Coetsee.
Law against animal abusers has to be enforced
Bruyns opened a case of animal cruelty on 18 August 2016. This week the George Herald received confirmation that the investigation has been completed and police are now awaiting a decision from the senior public prosecutor as to the outcome.
Although Riley was given her happy ever after, there are many animals who aren't as lucky.
The SPCA struggles daily with cases of animal abuse and cruelty, some so severe they have no choice but to euthanize. Charges are laid and cases of animal cruelty are opened, but it would seem that these cases take a back seat. "There are very strict laws against animal abuse but the problem we have is that many of these cases are not prosecuted. Some of our cases were reported four years ago and no one has appeared in court yet," says Bruyns.
According to the Southern Cape police spokesperson, Capt Malcolm Pojie, many of these cases are not as straightforward as they seem.
"The South African judicial system is complex and some investigations require more thoroughness in terms of things like witness statements and gathering of evidence. In cases like these it takes time to gather everything for an airtight investigation, especially when it's not a simple open and shut case," he said.
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