Criminal charges in terms of the Animals Protection Act will be laid against the owners the of a property in Protea Glen, Soweto where a joint operation involving staff from the Roodepoort SPCA and the National Council of SPCAs on 06 January 2017 uncovered horrific animal cruelty. The team uncovered neglect and cruelty as well as unsanitary illegal slaughter houses supplying rotting chicken carcasses for public consumption on the farm.

32 dogs were seized in terms of the Animals Protection Act and taken to a place of safety for veterinary treatment. The majority of the dogs were pit bull terriers. All had been living in dirty and parasitic conditions.

Inspectors involved in the operation were appalled at what they witnessed: – dogs living amid piles of their own faeces, being fed rotting carcasses. The dogs were tick, flea and worm infested and many of them had untreated injuries as well as other conditions and illnesses.

Two sheep had to be humanely euthanased on veterinary advice due to their extreme suffering as a result of untreated injuries and illnesses. Inspectors had to break the locks of an outhouse to reach them.

The “abattoirs” on the property were unregistered and therefore operating illegally. Inside these facilities, Inspectors discovered dead and dying chickens being processed in filthy conditions. Information obtained at the scene revealed that the chickens were for sale to the unsuspecting public in Johannesburg.

In addition to cruelty issues involving the handling and method of slaughter of the chickens, serious issues relating to public health arose and were reported. Contraventions of the Animals Protection Act and the Meat Safety Act were identified.

It was also of great concern that women and children were living between the slaughterhouse buildings amongst the abattoir waste.

When it was found that large quantities of cannabis plants were being cultivated on the property, the SAPS were alerted and the plants were seized under instruction of the SAPS in order to protect society from the further distribution of these illegal narcotics.

Animal cruelty is seldom a stand-alone crime.

Situations such as these highlight the interconnected nature of criminal activity and the importance of reporting animal crimes not only for the sake of the animal victims but to uplift and protect the community as a whole.

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