The rope used to bind the dog’s front legs. Photo supplied.
Date: 20 May 2018 By: Andries van Zyl
The level of inhumanity man can display towards animals this week reached a new low.
Last Tuesday, the Louis Trichardt SPCA received news that a person had dragged a dog by its feet down President Street and left it to rot next to the road between Rissik and Jeppe Street.
SPCA committee member Lesley Gaigher immediately rushed to the scene. “The dog was definitely dead before it was dragged by its feet. When I got to it at about 17:45, the carcass had already started to swell up,” said Gaigher.
Furious at how anybody could do such a thing, Gaigher tried to find out if anybody had seen who had dumped the dog. At face value, the dog (a large breed, probably a cross between a Rottweiler, Pitbull and even a Labrador) seemed to be well cared for, with no outwards signs of injury.
Shortly afterwards, Gaigher learned that a nearby security guard had seen someone dragging the dog by its feet. The incident probably happened between 17:00 and 17:30 that day.
“For me it is not a case of how the dog died, but rather the undignified manner in which the carcass was disposed of,” said Gaigher.
Following her gruesome find, Gaigher took to social media early the following day, expressing her disgust at the person responsible and asking members of the public to assist them in tracking the culprit. “This poor soul was dumped yesterday. Paws bound, dragged along the side of the road. No dignity, humanity or care for the magnificent animal he once was! Where have respect and compassion disappeared to in our society? How can you do something like this and then go to sleep at night?” she wrote, among other comments, on the local SPCA’s Facebook page, accompanied by some gruesome photos.
Her Facebook entry sparked widespread condemnation for the person responsible and numerous residents offered to contribute towards tracking down the guilty person.
By Monday this week, the amount pledged for tracking down the person already stood at R4 000.
Gaigher told the Zoutpansberger, however, that in hindsight, nobody was really sure what to do when the guilty party was tracked down. “What do we charge that person with? Illegal dumping? At most, it is going to be a slap on the wrist or a small fine,” Gaigher said during her visit to the newspaper.
“I might add that this is not an isolated incident,” said Gaigher. “On 21 April we were called to the corner of Vorster and Kort Street where we found the badly decomposed carcass of a dog, probably a Husky, in a plastic bag,” said Gaigher.
Regarding this, Gaigher speculated that the Makhado Municipality might be the reason more and more dead animals are being found dumped on street corners. “This shows you that people do not know what to do with their animals when they die as they have no place to dump or bury them. I think we can trace this problem of the illegal dumping of dead animals back to the municipality, who do no give residents any other option,” said Gaigher. She added that although she might understand why people were doing this, no excuse existed for the undignified way it was done last week.
Since mid-2017, the Louis Trichardt SPCA have been trying to get the Makhado Municipality to amend their new landfill permit conditions to allow for the disposal of animal carcasses. In the past, at the old Vondeling dumping site, provision was made for this. Apparently, permission to continue with this practice was omitted from the municipality’s new landfill site permit application. The new landfill site is now located west of town along the municipal airfield road. “Since December last year, we’ve heard nothing back from the municipality,” said Gaigher.
Apart from not owning up to their responsibility to provide a place to dispose of dead animals, the municipality is also slack in their responsibility to remove dead animals in streets and on sidewalks. “Senior inspector Lawrence Khodobo reported the dead animal early on Wednesday morning to the municipality for removal. Many people might not know this, but it is not the SPCA’s responsibility to remove dead animals. We get involved when live animals are being abused. Even if we wanted to, we could not remove the dog, because we just do not have anywhere to place it. Our fridges are full of animal carcasses that we have no way of getting rid of,” said Gaigher.
Yet the municipality did not act. “By Thursday morning, we got a call that the dog was still lying there. By this time, it was severely bloated. We again phoned the municipality and only then was the carcass removed that afternoon,” said Gaigher.
Gaigher appealed to members of the public to refrain from dumping dead animals along the roadside or on street corners. “The municipality has a responsibility to remove carcasses,” said Gaigher. She expressed the hope that the municipality would speed up their efforts to have their permit amended or at least give them feedback regarding the progress made regarding amending the landfill permit conditions.
To report similar incidents or acts of animal cruelty, members of the public are invited to phone Khodobo on 082 965 5151 or Gaigher at 071 545 5194.
Andries joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in April 1993 as a darkroom assistant. Within a couple of months he moved over to the production side of the newspaper and eventually doubled as a reporter. In 1995 he left the newspaper group and travelled overseas for a couple of months. In 1996, Andries rejoined the Zoutpansberger as a reporter. In August 2002, he was appointed as News Editor of the Zoutpansberger, a position he holds until today.
The Louis Trichardt SPCA was made aware last Tuesday that someone was dragging this dead dog by its feet along President Street. The incident sparked widespread outrage from animal lovers, who said that even if the dog was already dead, the owner’s treatment of dragging it by its feet was undignified. Photo supplied.
Although the municipality was notified to remove the dead animal from the sidewalk last Wednesday morning, the carcass was only removed the following day in the afternoon after the municipality had to be phoned again. By that time, the carcass was already severely bloated. Photo supplied.