Harsher sentences for those found guilty of animal cruelty

Please help the Durban & Coast SPCA send a clear message to our community that cruelty to animals will not be tolerated. Too often, culprits get away with paying a small fine or receive a suspended prison sentence. It seems animals’ lives don’t matter – and nor does the suffering imposed on them, often by their own uncaring owners.

Rango, a German Shepherd, was basically starved to death by his owner. By the time we got the tip-off from a concerned neighbour, Rango was just too far gone and, despite our best efforts, we weren’t able to save him.

The neighbour called us after noticing that the dog had lain in the same position for the entire day. When our Inspector visited the property, we found out why – Rango was so weak that he could not get up. He was literally skin and bones, and his emaciated body was bruised all over from lying on the ground with no flesh or muscle to protect him. He was brought to our SPCA that evening and our Controlling Vet, Dr Gilson, came in after hours to treat him.

Watch, as our team tries to save Rango’s life.

Rango was immediately placed on IV fluids and vitamins, among other treatments. He was very cold as a result of having no natural insulation, and just lying still caused him pain. Clinic staff worked round the clock to try and save him, covering him with blankets to keep him warm and turning him on soft pillows to ease the pain. We offered him words of comfort and gentle stroking to encourage him and we tried several times to hand feed him. But Rango had already given up. He refused to eat anything and there was nothing more we could do for him, except humanely release him from his pain and suffering.

The owner, who had relinquished the dog to us and consented to the euthanasia, then changed his tune. He insisted that Rango had been fine, and had eaten that morning.

But we are not allowing this callous treatment of a defenceless animal to be swept under the carpet. We have charged the owner with cruelty in terms of the Animals Protection Act 71/1962 and we have plenty of evidence – including statements, horrific photographs and veterinary reports – to back it up.

But we need more than hard evidence. We need other people to stand together with us to send a clear message to our courts that animal cruelty is a serious offence. And that people who hurt and neglect animals should not get off with a mere slap on the wrist. They need to face the full force of the law – and serve as a warning to others.

That’s why we are pushing for the maximum sentence for those found guilty – a fine of R60 000 or 3 years imprisonment. Please add your name to our petition, which will be handed over to the magistrate at the Phoenix Court. We need 2 000 signatures before the case goes to court. So please ask your friends on social media to join the fight for justice for poor Rango.