Life at the SPCA: Dogs in our community

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The SPCA is responsible for preventing cruelty to animals by investigating cruelty complaints and doing routine inspections of animal facilities such as abattoirs, stable yards and touch farms to name but a few.

The SPCA is not mandated to enforce the municipal by laws which is the sole responsibility of the municipality. Therefore we are not responsible for the collection of stray animals unless in the case where a stray animal is injured or suffering. For example a stray dog that has been hit by a car, has broken a leg and is in severe pain.

Although the SPCA is not mandated to do so, if the SPCA were to assist the municipality in this regard, the collection of stray animals is extremely time consuming and taxing given that many of these animals are not tame enough to be caught. Our SPCA simply does not have the resources to assist the municipality to collect strays. We are short staffed with only one vehicle and simply not enough funding to consider employing more personnel to assist in this regard. There is also not enough space at the SPCA centre to house these animals and many of them are not adoptable.

In terms of controlling this problem, the SPCA could assist in the future with education within the township areas about caring for dogs. Another form of controlling is through the sterilisation of female dogs within the township, which our SPCA is actively doing. This reduces the number of stray and unwanted animals and through the sterilisation of one female dog, thousands of unwanted dogs can be prevented in the future. The SPCA has been working specifically in the area of Hooggenoeg and has sterilised in excess of 50 female dogs within this area in the past few months. In order for this to happen, we are reliant on the public for donations to cover the costs of the medications and veterinary equipment involved – we receive no funding from the government or Lotto.

Dog behaviour is complex. Dogs can form packs but in my opinion they do not actively go out to kill people. It is however plausible that dogs may eat from a corpse if they were malnourished and suffering from severe hunger.

If people are bitten by dogs they should open a case at the SAPS in terms of Section 1 of the Animal Matters Amendment Act, 1993, and provide the required evidence i.e. medical records, photos, statements, witnesses, medical bills, etc. This is a civil Act and enforced by the police; not the SPCA. The SPCA enforces the Animals Protection Act 71 of 1962 along with the police, which pertains to cruelty to animals by humans.

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