LYDENBURG – A horrific case of animal cruelty occurred on Saturday afternoon in Skhila.
According to reports, two men brutally tortured and killed a male Africanis dog by forcing an iron rod through its head. According to witnesses on the scene, the dog entered the yard of one of the culprits.
They said that the man and presumably one of his friends found the dog in the yard. “The dog did not leave when they tried to chase it out. They then grabbed the dog, tied its legs, hind quarters and head with steel wire and carried it into a room in the house. At this time the owner of the dog and her seven-year-old son heard about what was happening. One of the culprits allegedly shouted to the owner and son that ‘they will now see what he will do to their dog’”.
They then proceeded to pound the rod into the head of the dog with a heavy object, “stirring it like a spoon in a pot”, one witness recalled. The owner of the dog ran away, but her son witnessed the brutal torture and killing of their pet. The carcass was then loaded into a wheelbarrow and the child told to take it home.
Cathy Schutte of Home 4 Paws was called shortly after the incident by one of the witnesses. Schutte went to collect the carcass and arranged with the veterinarian of Lydenburg Animal Clinic, Dr Jannie Steyn to perform an autopsy on the animal.
“I am devastated. This is not just the killing of an innocent animal, it is murder. The dog had no chance. It was tied up with no means of escape and bludgeoned to death.”
Steyn first took an X-ray of the dog’s head. He said that the rod did not penetrate the brain, but rather went through the left eye socket. The newspaper was allowed to witness the post-mortem. “The skull just underneath the skin was covered in blood. This, of course, indicated that there was severe head trauma. The rod did not penetrate the brain, but the skull was severely cracked.”
Steyn said he hoped that the dog lost consciousness after the first or second blow to the head. “It is the same as someone hitting a person over the head with a hammer.” He said that the dog would not have died instantly when the rod was being pounded into his head.
“He would have lived while the ordeal happened, but I would think that he would have died shortly after the incident.”
Schutte said she will leave no stone unturned to ensure that justice prevails. “Imagine the pain, suffering and absolute fear of this animal being tied up, dragged into a house, bludgeoned with a rod into the head and eventually dying.”
Steyn will be writing a report on the findings of the autopsy. The matter has been reported to the local SAPS and the SPCA in Mbombela.
Capt Alfred Moela said that police will assist with the opening of a case against the two suspects. “Residents have to remember that animals are protected by law. The police condemn this kind of behaviour and those being found guilty of contravening the law will have to face the consequences. “We urge members of the public to take such matters up with their neighbours instead of resorting to such incidents as killing the animal.”
Schutte confirmed that either she or the SPCA in Mbombela will open a case in respect of the Animal Protection Act, 1962. The Act contains a detailed list of prohibited acts of cruelty including overloading, torture, maiming, cruelly beating an animal, causing unnecessary suffering due to confinement, chaining or tethering, abandonment, unnecessarily denying food or water, keeping in a dirty or parasitic condition, or failing to provide veterinary assistance.
Out of fear of victimisation, the names of the witnesses are being withheld.